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