AGJ #1... The Premiere Issue [review]

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Omote
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AGJ #1... The Premiere Issue [review]

Post by Omote »

HOLY HEIRONEOUS!

Adventure Games Journal#1 is an instant throwback to the publications that really made the Fantasy Roleplaying industry what it is today. The production values are not super high when compared to other "magazine-like" publications today, but in my humble estimation that is a good thing. That's not to say that there aren't visuals in AGJ#1, rising star in fantasy artistry Peter Bradley graces the cover and interior with, generally speaking, simple and evocative black and white artwork and great maps. Some of Mr. Bradley's portrait pieces are anything but plain, and remind me of certain classic fantasy modules and gazetteers. But the heart of this publication is writen material, and a giant, bloody beating heart it is!

The 48 pages of AGJ#1 is jam-packed with information, including an intro editorial, and an upcoming releases article. The meat of the writing is in the form of a 15 pages primer to the Wilderlands of High Adventure campaign setting. As a Wilderlands fan, much of this information is new, and welcomed (particularly the universe cosmology and the info relating to the planet as a whole). The rest of the article covers the geographic regions that make up the Wilderlands. While some of this has been known from older Wilderlands publications, to read this seems quite fresh. It's great to see a general overview of the campaign setting all in one place. And, for the price, AGJ#1 gives the best overview of the setting to date.

The next section deals with a detailed look at one of the most famous personalities within the Wilderlands setting, the Invincible Overlord and those close to him. This section is extremly detailed and provides a lot of great material on which to base, several campaigns to say the least.

Other articles detail a society of knighthood in the Wilderlands based within a [the] City State, a not-so-small dungeon, new monsters and magical items, a detailed write up of a new deity to add to the setting, and a pretty unique little rumors section containing many possible adventure ideas that can be added to your Wilderlands campaign. Of particular note is an interesting article and adventure location detailing the elven race that resides within the Dearthwood. Honestly, this section article was a bit too short (for my tastes), even though it is 6+ pages long and left me wanting more. Although, there is only so much you can cram into 48 pages I suppose!

There are a few small things that I don't mention, as not everything within AGJ#1 needs to be revealed. Rest assured, for the price you get what you pay for.

In my estimation, the premiere issue of the Adventure Games Journal is a step beyond perfect. As gaming publications go, to see it might seem like it's a magazine, but there are no real advertisments to speak of taking up precious page space. I'm glad to see that while a small, independent publication AGJ is, the author doesn't focus on his projects or editorial of the setting or industry as a whole. While AGJ almost seems like a magazine, it is a gaming/setting supplement all the way. I couldn't have been more pleased in how this issue turned out. If the first issue of AGJ is the template for what we have in store, then fans will have a lot to look forward to.

Omote Rating............................... 10.5 / 11.0
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Post by jamesmishler »

I'm blushing here, though you can't see it through the screen I'm sure (well, I hope...)

Glad you liked the Journal!

As to the Elves article, it was only intended to describe the single fortress, not the whole Elven culture; that would make a good future article, though...

Thanks!
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Post by Plaag »

Mind if I link to this review for the Booty List?
http://www.acaeum.com/jg/OtherCompanies ... rnal1.html

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Post by Omote »

For my part, certainly no. I do not mind.

-O
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Post by tacojohn4547 »

I got mine today (Monday, Feb. 4). WOW! This is great - well done, James. Glad I subscribed from the get-go!

I think I'd like to order a few extra copies of the map (...long story, for another day). Suffice it to say that I'm a completist nerd. Look for an order to come this week.

From a quick review, it looks like the city/town/village names are pretty much the same as in the d20 (Necromancer Wilderlands) boxed set. However, the terrain of the Southern Reaches is a bit different, at the hex level, from the d20 map. James, is this due to the "different evolution" of your Wilderlands setting from the original? I think you eluded to some of these differences back when the AGP product line was announced.

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Post by Geleg »

mine arrived today. It looks splendiferous. Meaty. Intriguing.

Only having paged through it a bit, I am first struck by the breadth of the articles - there is broad cosmology, a specific setting/location (the Elven dwelling), a brief mini site-based adventure that can be inserted into existing dungeons, some history, some npcs, and a couple of monsters. Something for everyone!

I agree with Omote that Peter's art is very evocative - both of the setting and of the old-school feel. Great work!

I am looking forward to dipping into it tonight.

G
My C&C campaign journal: Hard Times in Narsileon http://www.trolllord.com/forums/viewtop ... 22&t=11032
My OSRIC/1e campaign journal: Expedition to Arden Vul http://www.dragonsfoot.org/forums/viewt ... 26&t=59080

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Post by jamesmishler »

tacojohn4547 wrote:
From a quick review, it looks like the city/town/village names are pretty much the same as in the d20 (Necromancer Wilderlands) boxed set. However, the terrain of the Southern Reaches is a bit different, at the hex level, from the d20 map. James, is this due to the "different evolution" of your Wilderlands setting from the original? I think you eluded to some of these differences back when the AGP product line was announced.

Glad you like it! I'll look forward to seeing your order!

As to the differences, yes, this is due to the different evolution, particularly in the southern regions of the Wilderlands. The southern regions were never as fully developed, I felt, as the northern regions. Not merely in settlements and technological levels, but also in depth of details. There was a LOT of empty space in the southern maps, lots of unnamed geography. I filled most of that in with my own developments, and usually also increased settlement size and added in whole new civilizations. As with all things with the Wilderlands, Adventure of High Fantasy, judges are encouraged to use what they like, change what they want, and dispense with what they don't want.

That said, the northern Wilderlands will look a LOT more familiar...
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Titania Lefey
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Post by Titania Lefey »

I hope my copy arrives tomorrow.

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Post by Geleg »

I enjoyed my reading last night. I started with the cosmology and then skipped ahead to the stuff on the Invincible Overlord. I really like the background on him (roving adventurer) and can see tons of adventure seeds in his children's dilemmas.

Nice!
My C&C campaign journal: Hard Times in Narsileon http://www.trolllord.com/forums/viewtop ... 22&t=11032
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Post by Treebore »

A very fine legacy, James. Very fine. I look forward to reading it in detail tonight.

I can't think of a finer tribute to Bob and Judges Guild. A fine start, and well worth the money.

Now to spread the word far and wide of this excellent product and company.
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Post by jamesmishler »

Treebore wrote:
Now to spread the word far and wide of this excellent product and company.

Thanks Treebore, your kind words are much appreciated.

And indeed, please, all should spread the word far and wide, in their home towns and on the web. The more I sell, the more I can produce. More sales = more money = ability to hire freelancers and more artists = more products.

My long-term goal with Adventure Games Publishing is to turn it into the modern Judges Guild, complete with a real office, in-house writers and artists, and extensive release schedule. Incredibly hard to do in this day and age, but not impossible... we just need to get more people on board with the Wilderlands.

I even keep eyeballing old school buildings with the thought of buying one and turning it into a gamer's sanctum...
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