Rogueland – A Brief Review

Greetings, here’s a bit of extra content for the weekend – a review of Rogueland by Caverns of Heresy (link here). I bought Rogueland pretty much as a whim to support an indie creative. I am glad that I did, as Caverns of Heresy is a great person, there was a snafu on my part accidently inputting my zip code in wrong. CoV notified me of this when they noticed and sent out a replacement the next day.

When the package did arrive, within was a paper bag with a hand drawn map upon it front and back; to say this tickled me pink, would be an understatement. I was chuffed. I still keep Rogueland and the four mini character sheets within it and will continue to do so until it falls apart.

Rogueland comes in a nearly 6×8 & ½ inches black and white chapbook/zine size and has 36 pages, with the inside covers where publication info/credits (front) and the second page of Game References, so there is no wasted space to be found within its pages.

If you are unfamiliar with Rogueland, it is what some refer as a OSR game, though not a retro-clone of either OD&D or B/X, the most common derivatives often found within the OSR. That said, it does emulate the style of play of those early editions of D&D quite well.

Let us talk about layout, Rogueland is extremely well laid out, taking advantage of the small size and length of the zine masterfully. The test is clear and crisp, it just pops off the page with no notable bleed through. Everything is easy to read and understand, as the text is written in a noticeably clear and concise manner. There are charts for everything you need during a campaign. That said, it would not be hard to add creatures to the game, as it is a simple game and compatible with any OD&D and B/X based bestiary on the market, many of which are available as legally free PDFs.

The Locals are brief but flavourful enough to inspire you to flesh them out and yet, not be unduly constrained. As such you could easily plus the map and environs in any campaign with minimal tweaking if any needed. Rogueland also has two brief mini-dungeons.

Artwise, the style and quality are within the norm for such games. Not great, like you would find in an expensive professional grade game, and yet it fits the vibe and tone of the game. I personally loved the maps scattered throughout Rogueland, though I am biased as I am a novice fantasy cartographer myself, so they are right up my alley.

My only criticism of Rogueland is the difference in the art in the locals’ section of the book and finding their corresponding place the two-page map of the Rogueland on pages two and three. The scales for both maps are clearly different, meaning that you may need two sizes of hex paper to best represent the maps or simply have two separate sheets with different scales. If I were CoV I would include the map scales in future printings and an updated version of the PDF.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading the zine and look forward to running it eventually. I am also looking forward to what Caverns of Heresy publishes next, whether it is made for either Rogueland or another game entirely. If I was to give it a rated score, I’d give it a 4 out of 5, for the criticism stated above. Well, I will end this missive and get it published and shared. Please take care of yourself and be kind to each other. Fin.

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