Monday, August 8, 2011

Review: Codex Guide to the Medieval Baltic

Codex Guide to the Medieval Baltic
Price: $15
Pages: 208

The Codex Guide to the Medieval Baltic is a generic game supplement for  GMs and players wishing to give historical texture to their medieval campaigns. The 200 page work contains details regarding art, religion, political powers, technology, and science during the 15th century centering on the Baltic free city of Danzig but spans all of Europe and some of Asia.

From the beginning the author gives you some historical context as to why the Baltic was so interesting during the 15th century.

    Eight reasons why the 15th Century Baltic is cool

    1. It is one of Europe's greatest military proving grounds.
    2. It is a center of Renaissance Technology and Culture
    3. It is one of Histories greatest melting pots
    4. There are pirates. Pirates with plate armor and guns.
    5. It is a political and economic proving ground
    6. It reminds me of the early days of the United States
    7. This was a wide open time in European History
    8. It is an epicenter for HEMA ('German' martial arts)

    I loved the graphics present in this product. They include villages, cities, and a nice section showing Teutonic at the end. The period artwork is nice as well and should serve as nice handouts to your players or give some ideas for character development for your PC. The modern photos of period buildings were nice but at times seemed a little out of place. Still, with a like manipulation these could be used as handouts as well.

    The sections on arms and armor were very interesting and include relative armor penetration strengths of various weapons. While I doubt you'd want to put this level of detail in your game it is nice to know. The range graphic for various missile weapons showed the ranges for harassing fire, area shots, direct fire, and armor piercing ranges really put things into perspective for me. It's one thing to see stats like this in a game system but another to see the visual representation of it.

    Overall I think this is a great product that covers a wide variety of needs for GMs and Players alike. Even if you aren't playing such a game now I recommend the product as something that simply a fun read. It's full of material that will set your creativity loose by founding it in the past.