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Valkyrie Magazine and RPGnet are happy to provide this review.


Six-guns and Sorcery

Castle Falkenstein RPG Supplement

176 pgs, [sterling]??

R. Talsorian Games

(Castle Falkenstein is the steam-punk RPG of fantasy and high adventure in the late 1800s. Six-guns and Sorcery is an extensive guide to the North America of the Falkenstein world.)

Once again, R. Talsorian surpass their previous releases; Six-guns and Sorcery is absolutely crammed with goodies: background information, new rules, new spells, new creatures, myths and legends of the American West, NPC statistics, new dramatic character profiles, and another Falkenstein novella. My theory is that the writers at R. Talsorian have a running competition amongst themselves to see who can achieve the greatest density of information while maintaining their high standards of quality. Each subsequent sourcebook released for Castle Falkenstein seems to up the ante one more time.

As is often the case with Castle Falkenstein supplements, a narrative structure is used to present much of the game information. After a disturbing dream and the mysterious death of an American Indian envoy, Thomas Olam (a computer games designer from our world who "wrote" the original Castle Falkenstein game) journeys to Falkenstein's alternate America. As Olam embarks on his grand tour in this novella format, detailed game background is interspersed throughout it in a clear and lively style, accompanied by excellent artwork.

There's simply too much material to detail fully in this review, but he highlights include: the Spellslingers - sorcerous gunslingers who use enchanted pistols to fire bolts of magickal energy; the Masonic conspiracy that seeks to control America's destiny; Norton I, Emperor of California; the Spirit Wall, a magickal barrier maintained by the Indians, who have kept dancing it into being for forty-six years; countless descriptions of the mythical spirit entities of Canada and the Wild West (characters such as Paul Bunyan for example); oh, and Samuel Clemens (a.k.a Mark Twain, and Privy Minister to Emperor Norton).

Falkenstein America is a richly detailed setting, and is considerably different from the "great game" of Falkenstein Europe, leading to a very different milieu. Six-guns and Sorcery is more of a separate campaign setting than a straight game expansion, and will obviously be of no use to a Referee who does not intend to set their game outside of Europe.

The chief success of this supplement is its' ability to communicate the spirit and feel of the setting. The novella that guides the reader through Falkenstein America brings it vibrantly to life and further expands the themes presented in the Castle Falkenstein rulebook.

Overall: Although by no means indispensable for Falkenstein referees, Six-guns and Sorcery is one of those rare supplements that really can be used with other systems. In fact, it provides a detailed background that would work very well with the Deadlands RPG, which is a bit lacking in that department. Another cracking release from R. Talsorian, confirming Castle Falkenstein's position as one of the best RPGs ever written.

Review by Simon English

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