A Review of the Role Playing Game Supplement Ancient Curses

Ancient Curses by Jason Nelson, Alex Riggs and Jen Page is a role playing game supplement published by Legendary Games. The supplement is published for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and is therefore covered by the Open Game License with some of it being considered Open Game Content. The supplement is part of Legendary Games’ Adventure Path Plug-In series which are intended to add extra content for Paizo’s different Adventure Paths; in the case, Mummy’s Mask, #79 to #84, which is referred to as the Egyptian Adventure Path due to IP. This is a collection of different types of content, all connected to curses.

This is a 26 page bookmarked PDF which is available from RPGNow for $5.99, as a standard heavyweight softcover print on demand book for $11.99 or both book and PDF for $13.99. The version reviewed is the PDF, which was purchased at the reduced price of $4.13.

Ancient CursesTwo pages are the front and back covers, one page is front matter, one page is the Open Game License, one page is the Table of Contents, one page a standard introduction to the Adventure Path Plug-Ins, one page describes what is inside, one page is an advert and two pages are essentially blank.

Ancient Curses is an introduction to curses and their particular association with Egypt, with a bit on how many people connected to the discovery of the Tomb of Tutankhamen died early or oddly.

Next is Cursed Class Features. These has two new archetypes, the Cursologist, an occultist archetype, and Priest of the Old Ways, a cleric archetype.

Cursed Items covers cursed magical items. These are normally caused by an error when making a regular magic item, but this considers the deliberate manufacture of cursed items (as well as suggesting that some should not be  capable of being manufactured). Nine new cursed items are listed here.

Cursed Places is a new type of menace that is similar to the haunt, but is magical in nature rather than undead. There are rules on creating these, and in-game these would be deliberately created, which are very similar to haunts in design, followed by nine examples.

The final section, New Curses, has seven new curses to add to the standard ones from the Pathfinder game.

Ancient Curses in Review

The PDF is well bookmarked, with all the sections and individual curses and cursed items listed. The Table of Contents is to a similar level of detail. Navigation is, therefore, above average. The text primarily maintains a two column format but quite a few errors were noticed. This was such as missing text, grammatical errors, improper formatting and the What You Will Find section has Treasures and Tomes of Horror referenced as being inside. Which they aren’t. There are a number of nice colour illustrations, but these appear to be reused from other supplements, such as Treasury of the Pharaohs.

Although the supplement is intended for the Mummy’s Mask Adventure Path, and it begins with an introduction on the association of curses with Egypt, it doesn’t actually feel that Egyptian in tone. Yes, there are a few things that feel Egyptian, but many don’t. This does make them more transferable to another setting, but this is supposed to be an Egyptian-themed supplement, not a generic one.

Of the two archetypes, the new cleric archetype feels the most interesting in design. The cursed items add some new items to trouble players and provide rules on making them, but this is perhaps open to abuse. This is covered in the text though. The rules on cursed locations add an interesting variant of the haunt, which is itself one of the more interesting creations of the Pathfinder game. Finally, the new curses add extra ways of plaguing players, even though they are fairly standard in feel – they may well have been inspired from folklore, which is mentioned at the beginning of the section.

The supplement has some interesting parts but formatting is not what it could be, or what is usually the standard from Legendary Games. It also is not as Egyptian-themed as might be thought – this may or may not be a drawback, depending on why the book is bought. Ancient Curses can be found by clicking here.

 

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