An advance copy of Ghost Archipelago: Cities of Bronze has just arrived in the post! With the book due out in June, I thought I would share a bit about the book, including a few quick pictures. Instead of writing a summary, I thought it would be easier, and more interesting, to just share the Introduction. So here it is!
It is hard to believe that I’m writing the introduction to the third expansion for Frostgrave:Ghost Archipelago. What began as a spin-off to the original Frostgrave has now taken on a life of its own and become a fleshed-out and highly developed setting. That said, I have tried, and will always try, to make sure there is plenty of open space, plenty of ‘grey area’, left for players to forge their own narratives, invent their own locations and races, and generally make the setting their own. Balancing these two ideas has been the biggest challenge, but also the most rewarding part, of writing these supplements.
And so, we come to Cities of Bronze, which takes the numerous small kingdoms of the Dricheans as its central theme. These Bronze Age-style peoples possess the most ‘civilized’ of civilizations within the Ghost Archipelago, but that doesn’t mean they are safe havens for outsiders. In fact, earning the trust of these kingdoms is one of the main goals presented in the book. But, I’m getting ahead of myself…
Much as the last supplement, Gods of Fire, presented rules for creating different Tribal groups, this book contains rules for creating your own Drichean kingdoms. While all these kingdoms have some similarities, they all feature different martial traditions that go a long way to determining their military tactics. Also, while some kingdoms are centres of trade and craftsmanship, others focus on knowledge and learning, and still others are more mystically inclined and consult with seers to read signs and portents. These differences become increasingly important as Heritors work with a specific kingdom and potentially gain access to their soldiery, their libraries, or other resources.
Of course, gaining the trust of these kingdoms is no easy feat. Only Heritors willing to take on desperate and dangerous quests have any hope of surviving behind Drichean walls. The heart of this book is three campaigns: two with three scenarios each, and one with five. These are all tough missions, and probably better suited to Heritors that have a few levels under their belts. Over the course of these adventures, the Heritors will have to fight past enormous lions and bronze giants, attempt to destroy an ancient and evil magic, and even descend into the forbidding darkness of the Drichean underworld. The risks are great, but so are the rewards!
Some players, upon reading these adventures, may feel a slight sense of familiarity. That is understandable. More than ever before, I have drawn upon on a specific source for inspiration. In this case, Greek mythology. For as long as I can remember, I have been fascinated by the tales of Jason and the Argonauts, Hercules, and the other ancient Greek heroes, and I have used that love and enthusiasm to drive my scenario writing in this book. In many ways, the Heritors are like those ancient heroes – mighty individuals, defined by their bloodlines and capable of feats that most mortals could never attempt. This is not a book about Greek heroes though, and so, while some of the monsters or situations might have mythic parallels, players will hopefully find that they have their own place in the Lost Isles and add to the richness of the setting.
Beyond Drichean kingdoms and the eleven scenarios, the book also contains a few new resources to aid the Heritors. Five new specialist crewmen are available to hire, from the deadly Drichean blade-dancer to the lowly cabin boy! In some scenarios and situations, Heritors will also be able to control allied Drichean soldiers, with their distinct martial disciplines. The book also contains a new treasure table filled with strange items that can be found during these adventures.
Finally, I would like to once again thank everyone who has supported my efforts to develop this game as well as the original Frostgrave. It is largely because of your continued support and enthusiasm that I have had the opportunity to grow as a games writer, to add new aspects to these games, and to devote so much of my attention to this fantastical world. I hope you enjoy Cities of Bronze and hope to see you again in the Lost Isles!
If you would like to learn more about the game and interact with other explorers of the Lost Isles, join the Frostgrave: Ghost Archipelago Facebook group or the Frostgrave page on the Lead Adventure Forum. If you would like to keep up with my work, and hear about what I’m currently up to, check out my blog: therenaissancetroll.blogspot.co.uk.