Review: The Yellow Bone Legion

Posted: 8 May 2013 in Reviews

Here’s the latest free download from Sine Nomine Publications, an expansion for the Red Tide setting for Labyrinth Lord. It looks like there will be a series of these under the shared title of Black Streams, in the same way that Stars Without Number has web supplements jointly named the Mandate Archives.

It’s an 8-page PDF detailing a new character class, the Walking Ghost, a kind of semi-undead warrior which reminds me a little of the Harrowed in Deadlands.

Setting aside the front cover and the OGL license, we’re left with 6 pages. The first three are an atmospheric backstory explaining the dire straits which led humanity to raise its own fallen as undead warriors during a desperate war against goblinoid foes, how they did this, and the guilt which led them to eliminate all records of their shameful deed.

The remaining three pages respectively describe the class itself, plot seeds for Walking Ghost antagonists (also usable for other intelligent undead), and the Black Tree (the evil artifact used to create this new type of undead, long thought destroyed, but we know better, don’t we?).

The class is essentially a cleric with no spells, but is compensated for this by several special abilities, which I won’t go into to avoid spoilers as the class seems intended for use as an NPC antagonist as well as a PC, who might not initially realise he is one… I will, however, say that they are interesting, and include both benefits and potential weaknesses.

The plot seed generator consists of three tables, on which the GM rolls to determine the revenant’s dark goal, the special advantage he will use to attain it, and his base of operations. As an example, three quick die rolls tell me that my potential villain is bent on exterminating the last descendants of a family that wronged him, that he is supported by followers of the Hell Kings who will help him in exchange for his allegiance to their cause, and that he hangs out in a remote mountain monastery devoted to the cold powers of death. I could have a lot of fun with that.

The page on the Black Tree explains how it works, the constraints it operates under, and several options for the harsh price its owner pays for using it.  There’s also a short section on how to adapt the Walking Ghosts to settings other than Red Tide.

As ever, Kevin Crawford manages to pack a lot of useful gaming material into a small space, and the price can’t be beat.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5. Goes into the hopper for the next fantasy campaign I run.

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