As part of my plans for the new years, I’m going to spend some time revisiting, reviewing, and playing older RPGs that deserve some attention. That means more actual play posts, more reviews, and just overall, more content.
So, here’s the first one of the new year! The Book of Uther from Nocturnal Media. I’m a massive fan of Arthurian lore (my Keltia review reference that), and so, here I am to review the latest book in the “leather book” line of King Arthur Pendragon books.
As a preface, I’ve gushed about Pendragon before, and I hold that KAP is probably the greatest, and most well-researched, written, and delivered roleplaying games of all time. However, that doesn’t mean this review is all cupcakes and roses. There’s some serious talkin’ ’bout to happen here.
1.) Size and Production Quality
A full size 160 pages, black and white interior (which…red reminder/rules text on the sidebars? That felt weird). For 30$ + S&H, softcover, as you can only get it in POD or PDF from DriveThruRPG. The price point feels a little weird, and while the design, layout and interior quality is all great, but the book’s price point and thinness left me a little…cold.
There’s also a few typos, specifically around some of the usage of latin, where the plurals and singular forms get switched around and messed up. Not a major quibble for the average reader I suspect. For a thin, black and white book (essentially), I think it could be cheaper. Many other games (Savage Worlds comes to mind), can sell fullcolor books for less on DriveThru’s POD service.
All of the art is culled from various medieval sources, and fits the atmosphere of the book exceptionally well. Some of it (as acknowledged by the author) is anachronistic, but even that art, still delivers on the theme and feel of the game. It’s an exceptionally deliberate choice that is expertly executed on.
Oh, look at that. Rules regarding Uther’s coronation, the politics and courtly states of the times, members of The King’s Progress, and stats for Uther and Excalibur…
That’s right. I don’t think Uther and Excalibur get stated quite this way in any other book (I could be wrong of course, as I’m only familiar with the 5e line, but a quick pass through my 5e books seems to bear me out).
All of the NPCs are well done. The delivery of the discussion around castles, property organization and management, and more is fascination as always, and Stafford (the author) delivers another excellent bout of history and gaming merged into a singular experience.
New mechanics around monks (cloistered religious ones, to be clear), and some new skills really round out the game.
4.) Game Master Section
The whole book is really a giant game master section mixed with additional rules you can use to enhance your Pendragon campaign. The Content/Rules review up above really serves well to cover what I felt about the book.
5.) Pre-Made Adventure
Doesn’t exist here, so instead, we’re going to talk about the 5 year expansion to The Great Pendragon Campaign that is contained within The Book of Uther.
Normally, the GPC covers years 485 to 566, but with the expansion in the BoU, you get an extra few years from 480 to 484. This means, your campaign can now cover the entirety of King Uther Pendragon’s reign. And every bit of it is awesome.
The new NPCs, conflicts, and chances to establish your lineage a little bit earlier are wonderful. They add a lot more depth than I expected, and giving the characters a chance to be allies of Uther from the start really adds a certain, feel to the game, I can’t help but love.
Total Score: 46/50
Well, The Book of Uther now has the highest score I’ve ever awarded to an RPG review on this blog since doing this format. Congrats!
I gotta be honest, I had to work to keep it as “objective” as possible, but I was ecstatically reading this book and loving every minute of it. I still hold Pendragon as the best RPG ever made (in any context, suck it everything else), and I think the Book of Uther is a must-have addition to the line.