Castles & Crusades: A Pot of Broken Bones (& Halfing Broth)

Castles & Crusades: A Pot of Broken Bones (& Halfing Broth)

From: Troll Lord Games
Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Castles & Crusades: A Pot of Broken Bones (& Halfing Broth) is a new Free RPG Day Adventure from Troll Lord Games.

One of the more surprising things about this year’s Free RPG Day was the amount of free full size books it contained.  One of those books was the Castles & Crusades Player’s Handbook.  Although this is not a review of that, I wanted to say that unlike other Free RPG Day products, A Pot of Broken Bones (& Halfing Broth) does not contain the rules to play the game.  This is a full adventure.  I assume the intent was that the store owner would give whatever GM ran this adventure in his store the Player’s Handbook to get familiar with the game system.  The Player’s Handbook is reviewed separately on this web site.

From the back cover:
“Beyond the comforts of home lie worlds of epic adventure”

First and foremost, there is no rules explanation in the adventure at all, which is, I suppose, why they included one Player’s Handbook (PH) for Castles & Crusades (C&C) in the Free RPG Day bundle. This is not entirely the best route to take, but seeing as how Troll Lords was so generous to include a PH in the bundle, I can give them some slack.  The entire booklet of 14 pages is the adventure.  It includes 4 pre-generated characters for you to immediately launch into the game.

With that said, the first thing any GM needs to do with this adventure is get familiar with the rules of the game system.  In order to play this, I would highly recommend that the publisher consider putting together some quick start rules so all the GM has to do is pick up this one booklet.  After all, this is what is at the heart of Free RPG Day, isn’t it?  Also, the adventure states upfront that this adventure can stretch to two sessions, so perhaps it is not ideal for a one-shot game day that I envision Free RPG Day is meant to be.

The adventure itself is a rescue mission with a deep and dark twist at the end.  A group of adventurers are approached by the last survivors of a Halfing village ravaged by two troll brothers.  They need help rescuing their fellow villagers from the clutches of the evil trolls.  However, their lair holds even deeper and darker secrets that if unleashed, could create even further problems for the characters.

From page # 2:
“ ‘They took Ylanda Broadfoot! The monsters! We need to gather our resources and use some blades to save her and the rest. Hurry!’ commanded furious Actley, so angry his crimson face was redder than normal.”

The adventure is broken down into 3 major acts – (1) The recruitment and journey there, complete with random encounter tables for day and night; (2) The rescue of the Halfing villagers from the clutches of the Trolls; (3) the Troll lair’s dark secret.  The first two acts could easily fit in one session and the third act is really optional if the Castle Keeper wishes to take the adventure further.

There are 4 pre-generated characters (pre-gens) – two human magic users, an elf rogue and a dwarf fighter.  Characters can be easily added to make a solid party of 6 if you have the Player’s Handbook.  Making characters is not all that hard in C&C.

In conclusion, the adventure is really good, despite the lack of grasping the concept of the Free RPG Day (or least how I perceive it).  This is more of a quick two-night one-shot than a game for a single game day.  It can be done, however, if you skip the best part of the adventure – the dark twist at the end.  With the adventure, you at least need the Player’s Handbook.  If you did not get the free one in the Free RPG Day bundle, then purchasing it would run you about $40.  If the Troll Lords really want this adventure played, however, I would highly recommend coming up with some quickstarter rules.  However, for C&C fans, this is a good adventure.  I would grab it up if you see a copy somewhere. It can be a lot of fun and added to any existing campaign as a side adventure.

For more details on Troll Lord Games and their new Free RPG Day AdventureCastles & Crusades: A Pot of Broken Bones (& Halfing Broth)” check them out at their website http://www.trolllords.com, and at all of your local game stores.

Codex Rating: 14

Product Summary

a-pot-of-broken-bones-and-halfing-broth-coverCastles & Crusades: A Pot of Broken Bones (& Halfing Broth)
From: Troll Lord Games
Type of Game: Free RPG Day Adventure
Written by: Brian N. Young
Contributing Authors: Alicia Stanley
Game Design by: Davis Chenault, Mac Golden
Art by: Peter Bradley
Number of Pages: 14
Game Components Included: One adventure booklet
Game Components Not Included: Core rule book
Retail Price: $0.00(US)
Website: www.trolllords.com

Reviewed by: Ron McClung