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Reviews - The New Argonauts
 
by Justin Mohareb


New Argonauts cover The New Argonauts
Published by Sean K. Reynolds Games
Written by Sean K Reynolds
Cover art by Gerald Lee
64 pages
$7

A d20 game can be made to fit into a game setting two different ways. The first is via bludgeon: “But Monks aren’t really appropriate for this setting.” “They are now!” Or via scalpel “This world really lacks the magical elements common to D&D.” “What magic?”

The New Argonauts uses a scalpel method, paring off elements that don’t fit into a fantastic version of ancient Greece. The game emulates fantastic ancient Greece, with historical elements, rather than attempting to be a pure emulation of ancient Greece (because, as we saw in Troy, that can suck).

Ancient Greece, even a fantastic version of it, is a low magic setting, so away go the Ranger, Paladin, Sorceror, Cleric, Bard & Wizard. There are also Feats that are eliminated, and some that are useless in the setting are outlined as such.

Player Characters in the game will be primarily Fighters, Rogues and occasional Barbarians. A new class for NPCs is added, the Hellenic Sorceress, because you need Medea and Circe, right? Reynolds introduces a variety of new feats to help compensate for the reduced presence of magic in the game world, primarily with regards to healing. A character with the Field Surgeon and Asclepian Doctor feats can easily compensate for the lack of clerics after combat. In Combat damage is still a danger, so there are a number of new defensive feats, and everyone with levels in Fighter gets Combat Expertise for free. And, remember, everyone will be a Fighter, so there’s no problem with needing all these feats.

Bloodline is a new character trait which allows your character to be the scion of one of the gods. Depending on the deity and the potency of the bloodline, a character may get a bonus to a skill or a stat, or a supernatural power. A minor scion of Dionysus, for example, has a +2 to two of Gather Information, Perform (acting), or Sense Motive, while a Lesser Scion of Dionysus will get a +2 to either his Constitution or Charisma. A Greater Scion of Dionysus will have either Tasha’s Hideous Laughter or Daze Monster once per day.

There are new rules variants for longer dying times, poison rules, and getting favors from the gods by doing stuff.

The book ends with a chapter of new monsters, and antagonists for the sample campaign included in the book.

Conclusions
The New Argonauts is designed for short campaigns, similar to the adventures of the Greek Heroes. These adventures, to be honest, are fairly similar to a video game. Get quest (Acquire Golden Fleece). Contact person who can help you complete quest. Person tells you to perform mini-quest(s), perform Mini Quests, Person helps you perform main quest. There’s usually a boat involved.

The book does a good job of covering the basics of Greek Culture for use in a game, and a good primer on the Greek Gods and their relationships. Game Mechanic info, for example, only takes up about half the book, with the rest being info on the setting and running games within it.

The overall quality of The New Argonauts is high. The cover is a piece of new art, while interior illustrations are of Greek pottery and statuary. The writing is professional, and the book is well put together, with the exception of one page where the text describing the Pentathlon seems to have been cut up, and a portion omitted.

But if you’d like to run a short campaign with the feel of the Greek myths, then The New Argonauts is a great resource for doing just that.


 

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