Kingdoms of Kalamar

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Rigon
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Kingdoms of Kalamar

Post by Rigon »

When I went up to my LGS on Free RPG day, I picked up a copy of the 1995 KoK box set for $12. I read through about a 1/4 of the religion book and I'm about 1/4 of the way through the campaign book and I'm liking what I see. The maps that were included in the box set are some of the best I've ever seen. Does anyone have experience with this material?

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Post by serleran »

Yes, it is very retro and detailed, sort of like a weird cross between Greyhawk and HarnWorld but still flexible enough to let you do what you want, how you want. Some of the best non-TSR material made for full-fledge campaign stuff, I think.

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Post by Go0gleplex »

My wife ran a campaign within KoK and we had a blast. Just finished converting several of the creatures from the KoK Monster Manual over to C&C even. If you've never seen that creature book, it gives you the first couple rounds of combat actions typical of the creature, shows a world map with the habitat/range of the creature in the world as well as much other goodness. By far the best Monster Manual I've ever ran into in terms of information.

There are many interesting adventures as well. (sniff! I miss my halfling rogue....sniper/survivalist and serious bad ass.)
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Post by Dristram »

KoK rocks! It was my main 3e setting and I've used it for C&C.

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Post by DangerDwarf »

Ayup. KoK is great. Can't get enough KoK. Everyone who has tried it absolutely loves KoK. If you try KoK, you'll love it too.

Joking aside, Kalamar is sweet. One of the better settings around.

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Post by Harry Joy »

DangerDwarf wrote:
If you try KoK, you'll love it too.

Not my thing remotely. I'm more into Medieval, Interstellar & Low Fantasy Settings.

hth

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Post by Treebore »

In a lot of ways the pre 3E KoK was better, but in production values the 3E KoK from Kenzer is very worth getting. The best World Atlas ever, and DM screen for 3E or 3.5.

Kenzer and KoK should have gotten a lot more love in my opinion. A lot of world detail, but plenty of room for adventures to be added by the DM, with TONS of campaign inspiration from the material.
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Post by Harry Joy »

Treebore wrote:
In a lot of ways the pre 3E KoK was better...

Sicko.

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Post by Jyrdan Fairblade »

I never saw the original Kalamar materials, but the 3e campaign setting book (which is still pretty game-neutral) is on my list of worlds to eventually run.

It's a well thought-out world, and is the kind of place that the PCs can carve their marks into.

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Post by Go0gleplex »

One of the biggest points in its favor too, is that humans are set up with several ethnic divisions (I refuse to use the term race! in regards to human diversion!) and have little tweaks all their own with a good line on their individual cultures and development.

I have most of the source books...well worth the $$
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Post by Omote »

Yes, generally speaking the pre 3E KoK is better IMO as well. Kind of a neat world, but not wholly unique.

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Post by jeffb »

I had alot of the D&D branded Kalamar material prior to 3.5 ( though I did buy Dangerous Denizens -3.5- which was a really good monster book).

IMO Kalamar is alot like Greyhawk- You'll get alot more out of the published adventures than you will any of the setting books published for it. The original 3.0 Kalamar Campaign setting book was incredibly boring to read, and the - realistic but extremely difficult to keep interest in- naming conventions was another huge turn-off. I could never get more than 10 pages into that book at a time without putting it away. The *idea* of kalamar was great- lower magic, no uber-NPCs, etc, but the book was so danged bland...yuk.

However- the modules (Coin Trilogy, Lost Tomb of Kruk Ma' Kali, etc), and some of the supplemental books did a ** far*** better job of bringing the setting to life/making it exciting . I actually won one of the Kenzer contests on ENWorld way back when (as well as 2 of the Necro contests) and picked up the Coin Trilogy and a few other modules- Very cool (I already had 2 of the 3 coin trilogy modules already). I also bought several more and some supplements until 3.5 hit.

My point Don't judge the setting on the dry as a bone Campaign book. Pick up some modules

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Post by Treebore »

I find all campaign books "dry". I love Aihrde and Wilderlands. I love Greyhawk. I love Faerun. I didn't read any of the campaign books "quickly".

Its best to just bounce around campaign books (for me anyways), to get a sense of the over all flavor and usually, one or two of the campaign areas will pop out at you and that is where I start my campaigns when I use the setting.

Outremere and Kayomar popped out for me with Aihrde, so that is where I started campaigns, In FAerun Silverymoon and Sundabar jumped out at me, so thats where I started.

For GH the Pomarj jumped out at me.

For the Wilderlands several areas intrigued me, so I just went with the one so many talked about, CSIO, plus I had the old and new write ups for it, and had ran a very pleasant one on one camaping in CSIO and its sewers about 20 years ago.

I do agree grabbing the modules help bring the setting alive. It did it for GH, Faerun, the Wilderlands, Erde/Airhde, and it certainly does it as well for KoK. Plus it helps that the modules are well done too.

The Scarred Lands has been another under appreciated setting as well, with some awesome setting materials for it. I love Mirthril City and the City of Necromancers, I am forgetting its proper name though. I was luke warm about Geneuveave, or however you spell it, the one by Ed Greenwood. The swamp books for SL I found to be exceptionally idea laden and evoking. To the point where I incorporated them into my Ravenloft campaign when I ran that for a year or so.

I think one reason I like the pre 3E KoK is that it was easier to absorb. The booklets were much smaller than the books and just seemed much easier to abosrb and get the "feel" for.

Thats why I think "Players Guides", like Paizo has done for their two PAthfinder storylines, are awesome ideas. It gives the player, and the DM, a baseline and easy to absorb storyline that either pulls you in, or doesn't.

If it hooks you then reading all the Pathfinders becomes worth the effort because you want to know more.

I think how they have broken up their setting books has been smart too. It sucks for my pocketbook, but for the most part it presents their setting in much easier to learn "bites", and gives a better dimension of complexity/depth/flavor to that particular region or regions.

I think in the long run it will convince Pathfinder DM's to buy everything. Good for Paizo, but the over all cost is going to be painful for most DM's.

I hope TLG does the same with Inzae and Erde. Give us a "Big picture" book, like they have with the Airhde Folio and the old HB Erde book for D20. Then do folios of each kingdom or region, giving us better levels of detail in the maps, as well as higher levels of detail of the lands, the people, commerce, movers and shakers, etc...
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Post by Rigon »

Thanks for the info/comments everyone. Those adventures and supplements you all were talking about, which edition are they for, pre-3e or 3e?

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Post by Treebore »

Most are 3.0, as far as the adventures go. Others might be 3.5, none, as far as I know, are before 3E. Most books/supplements are 3.0, and around 10 of them are 3.5E.
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Since its 20,000 I suggest "Captain Nemo" as his title. Beyond the obvious connection, he is one who sails on his own terms and ignores those he doesn't agree with...confident in his journey and goals.
Sounds obvious to me! -Gm Michael

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Post by Rigon »

Thanks Tree, that's what I thought. I would prefer pre3 material, but I'll look over the 3+ stuff anyways. Still reading at the moment.

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Post by serleran »

As far as I know, the only pre-d20 Kalamar material is the box set, but I am not 100% certain on that. For a very brief period, it was also the only official setting for D&D d20, outside the hinted-at Greyhawk from the PHB. Kinda neat.

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Post by Go0gleplex »

Mentioned this discussion goin on to the wife last night and we spent the next hour reminiscing about her campaign and how much fun she had running it with her mom. (She was running the Coin of Darkness series)

Who knows....may get a chance to play after all again.
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Post by Julian Grimm »

What makes Kalamar so unique? I have heard a lot about it but haven't seen anything.
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Post by Go0gleplex »

It has a LOAD of details in the books. Right down to the typical dress of the clergy per diety, habitat maps for the creatures, CULTURES as well as races...based on geographic location and history...which is also given. Kenzer really went all out to make it user friendly, player informative. And the artwork is decent too. One of my favorite settings.
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Post by Treebore »

Yep. The only problem is many find the detail too boring. GOOD! They saved you the trouble of creating it!

So because they found the boring details that make a campaign world REAL, they say the setting sucks, or is too complicated to learn, or some other similar reason.

However, if you like a setting where you know how the clergy dress, everyone actually speaks different languages, or you know the weather patterns of the world, and have all the other similar incredibly boring info, that is great to help the DM make the world seem as real as possible, such as the average water temps of lands, rivers, streams, ponds, seas, and oceans, then your going to find a lot of really useful info and ideas that will help you run one of the most detailed and REALISTIC settings you can possibly run.

But you have to get through all the dull, boring, dry material to see that.
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Post by Julian Grimm »

Hmmm. That's one of the things that put me off of FR. Is it similar to FR in that respect or is there room for CK's to play?
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Post by serleran »

Forgotten Realms did this -- they gave you what was going to happen, or already had. Plotlines.

Kingdoms of Kalamar does this -- this is what is here; wanna use it?

I would say they are not similar.

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Post by Rigon »

From the little I've read (1/4 of the deities book and 1/2 of the campaign book), I'd say that, yes there is a lot of world info and you can extrapalate hooks out of the political/historical write-ups, but there is no overarcing plots (at least none that I've noticed/found). So as a CK, I can take the world as it is presented and make it my own without having any kind of story force feed to me.

At least that's how I've found it so far.

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Post by Go0gleplex »

Tree, Serl, and Rig all are right. But one thing more that Kenzer did with kalamar....was they provided additional details in supporting materials such as cities and the political climates etc. Again...this is what's here, here's the NPCs (Political players), a couple possible story hooks to get folks a foot in the door, use 'em or not as you'd like. Heck...even orcs and hobgoblins had actual cultures...not just, hey, here's some humanoid monsters to kill...

The campaign I was in...we started in the rustic far north, traveled south through more civilized lands and then into a wild jungle...and from there across the sea to a desert full of nomads...and we weren't done when we had to stop. (our LGS shut down and a couple players moved)

Like Tree said...it was/is a very under appreciated setting.
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Post by Treebore »

Like the others have said, they tell you this, that, and these people are here, and this is what is going on. Use or ignore what you want.

So as long as you like the setting they give you, your not restricted in doing anything you want within the settings laws and customs, which the criminal types could care less about. So what I am saying is unlike FR, you are free to take the world in whatever direction you want, and as long as you have it make sense within the context of the setting, which your likely going to do anyways, you don't have to worry about anyone saying, "Wouldn't Elminster, Khelbun, The Symbol, Alustriel, The HArpers, etc.... put a stop to this?"

You put the big movers and shakers you want into the setting, if you even want any.

You take the campaign in any direction you want because Kenzer never moved the time line forward. SO what is past stays the past, and what is going on now goes forward however you wish, if you want it to. Kenzer will not be coming behind you with new supplements or novels saying anything different.

Not that I let any of that affected my FR campaign. The only canon material in my setting was what happened at my gaming table, and only for that group.
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Since its 20,000 I suggest "Captain Nemo" as his title. Beyond the obvious connection, he is one who sails on his own terms and ignores those he doesn't agree with...confident in his journey and goals.
Sounds obvious to me! -Gm Michael

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Post by Zebulon »

For cheap on ebay...
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Post by Rigon »

Thanks for the link Zeb, unfortunately I have to replace an axle in my truck , so all of my spare money is going to that right now.

I did remember that I have the 3e KoK book on PDF, so I can compare the info from both sources.

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Post by slimykuotoan »

K - I'm getting sold on this setting.

Which product do I buy?

d20?
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Post by Rigon »

At a quick glance, the info between the pre3 and 3 material is pretty much the same, and as someone mentioned earlier, there didn't appear to be much game specific rules. So I would suggest getting whichever you can find on the cheap.

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