"Go to the sign of Harvel's Axe, a dubious inn on the edge of the Thieves Quarter, in the City of Greyhawk, and look to your own wrist. If you perceive a bracelet and dangling dice, watch for the next throw in the war between Law and Chaos and be prepared to follow the compelling geas." -Signal

Sunday, January 22, 2012

AEG - Mercenaries, Will of Atlas

Mercenaries is best described as a sourcebook with an identity crisis. Most of  the other AEG source books have been very specific about their topic and have  done a good job sticking to that topic. Nothing could be further from the truth  with Mercenaries. With that being said this may be one of the best general  source books they have produces...and they talk about mercenaries to boot.

The first two chapters deal with new races and new classes. These are actual  classes and not prestige classes....those come later. There are suggestions on  how the races might be mercenaries and the classes as described could be ones  that might be common for mercenaries but they still seem a little forced in a  book dealing with mercenaries. Both have items that work and others that fail. I  have a problem with races that number less than 200 would they not be considered  something other than a race (and the numbers are not low by death or genocide).

Chapters three and four deal with Feats and Skills. These will be of interest to  both the DM and player. The chapters contain good information and as in other  books the section detailing new uses for old skills provides one with ideas and  should help get the creative juices flowing. The section of Feats contains both  new and old information. Some of the Feats are reprinted from the Dungeons  offering.

It is in chapter five that we get our first real state of the topic of the book.  This section paints a good overview of mercenaries. The section on alignments  was of particular interest. The chapter also lays out what it calls the  Mercenary Profiles. I am not sure why that was chosen but it is best thought of  a primer on how to be an effective mercenary. We also get information on deities  that would be favored by mercenaries and an good synopsis of types of contacts  mercenaries might have.

Chapter six is one of the ones I like best and also one of the ones that might  not be material that belongs here. The section is on equipment and it has a  wealth of information on equipment including availability and costs. It also  lays out information the costs for services and information. It also contains  information on a vast array of new equipment including adventuring gear,  weapons, armor and a smattering of topics that seem thrown in.

In the seventh chapter we have a list of new spells for the classes described in  chapter two. There are also other lists for spells by domain that are nice  though again I am not sure if this was the venue. There are also spells for  exiting classes that are included though not all or even most would seem to be  mercenary related. All of that aside this is another section that is very useful  just not on topic.

Chapter eight takes on an interesting topic in a book on mercenaries...that of  mercenaries. This is the meat and potatoes of the books topic. It also covers  skirmishes which are rules for larger unit combat. The rules work and I can see  a connection to the topic at hand but I might have broken it out into its own  section. The chapter goes over the chance of finding mercenaries, their cost and  goes over morale for mercenaries. It also contains a number of tables the DM can  use to generate random mercenaries which is nice. Also here are 100 plot hooks  that can be used even without mercenaries being the focus.

In the ninth chapter the topic is Mercenary Companies. The chapter spends the  first portion of it going over specific roles of mercenaries though. Regardless  this is good information. When it gets to the companies portion...wait I forgot  they provide three or four examples of mercenary legends. When they get to the  companies this is again good information and generic enough to drop into any campaign and really system.

Chapter 10 lays out the rules for no less than 23 new prestige classes. This is  as you may have guessed a section I could live without though some of the  information provides ideas that could be used elsewhere and in other ways. I am  not sure Fifth Column needs to be a prestige class but it does make me think  about including a resistance element in a campaign and the The Grey Walkers  won't make me want to allow Druids to use this class but it does reinforce my thought that there will be good and evil druids alongside the neutral ones and  they need their own groups.

Chapter eleven deals with Magic items. It offers a fair number of new ones as  well as introducing classes of magic items. This is akin to the templates used  for monsters and though I am not as big a fan of them for monsters I do like the  idea for magic items. This is again a chapter that though could be mercenary  related seems to be thrown in.

Finally in chapter twelve we get new monsters. Not sure how this is mercenary  related but one can never have too many monsters in their arsenal no can they.  The collection is a good hodgepodge collection of creatures of differing levels  and uses. The Mesmeric Crawler and Nith are ones that I took a particular like  to.

Overall the book is a good book on mercenaries and an excellent sourcebook on  general and vaguely related mercenary topics. I think a DM will use it for  mercenaries when they have too but will find many other uses for it as well and  they might even forget about it when it came time for mercenaries as they have  used it for so many other things. It is good they put Mercenaries on the cover  and spine to remind us.

Published: 2002
Pages: 256

From the back of the book:

Money is the only goal worth dying for; mercenaries know this, and have learned  profit from their wisdom.

This sourcebook is the perfect resource for playing mercenaries and running  mercenary campaigns. Inside these 256 pages you'll find new races, classes,  feats and magic - everything DM's and players need for endless adventuring  opportunities.


Will of Atlas

Level: Fourth
Range: Touch
Duration: Special
Area of Effect: One Humanoid
Components: V,S
Casting Time: 1 Segment
Saving Throw: None

By means of this spell the magic user will bestow virtually unlimited strength  upon the target creature. The strength is limited in its uses and its duration  though.

This spell will allow the target to lift and carry any item regardless of it's  size and weight. The item lifted will need to be a single solid item. It would  not allow the target to lift a castle but a gigantic bronze statues is possible.  The item needs to be something that is freestanding and movable.

Once the item is lifted then the target will be able to carry it for as long as  needed. The spell will remain in effect for as long as the target is carrying  the item. If they ever sit the item down or drop it then the spell will end and  the item will not be movable again without use of the spell.

Disclaimer: The spells that you will see, for how ever long the write ups last,  were all written up or conceived of back in the 80's so the terminology may not  appropriate for anything other than 1e and depending on how well I did back then  it may be slightly off for that as well. If there is any duplication of spells  that exist now it is most likely I wrote mine first :) Please feel free to  comment on them but try not to be too hard on me. If anyone wishes to use these  in anything they print please let me know in advance and all I ask is proper  credit.

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