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Vincent Darlage
United States
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The Vikings Campaign Sourcebook is the first in the Historical Reference sourcebooks for AD&D 2nd Edition. I used this book quite a bit, actually, and really enjoyed it. This book gives lots of advice on how to modify the standard AD&D game into something more historical.

With a green softcover, this 96-page perfect-bound sourcebook features gold lettering and a Viking ship on the cover. The interior is black with green titles (replacing the black with blue titles found in the standard AD&D 2nd Edition books). There's not a lot of artwork, but it actually has some good pieces, instead of the clip-art style usually featured in AD&D 2nd Edition books.

The Good Stuff
The book gives some history to put the Vikings into a historical context, and it was pretty solid stuff. But the really cool stuff starts in Chapter 3. After discussing that people are either human or trollborn, the humans get character gifts, ranging from bad luck, rune lore, courage, to a title. Most characters get no gift (roll of 5-12 on a d20), but the gifts are quite fun and help develop the characters of those with them. None of them seemed game breaking that I remember.

The book also introduced two new characters - the berserker and runecaster. Berserkers could shapechange at higher levels, and runecasters could cast runes, but it wasn't a fire-and-forget type of magic common with AD&D. We really enjoyed these two classes in our campaigns. We even used them in our standard AD&D games for characters from Viking-like cultures.

The book also gave a list of names, which was invaluable and helped keep everyone being named as characters from Beowulf. I don't know why more sourcebooks don't go into culture-specific names. I always tried to do that when I wrote the Conan sourcebooks, and this book was one of the reasons I did that.

Chapter 4 was all about Rune Magic, which I really liked. They were all useful, but, again, not game-breaking. In an age before Feats, these runes were fantastic, and the players loved them. Iron-Can't-Bite was popular, and so was the Fortune rune.

Chapter 5 had fascinating monsters, which basically were just flavor changes to existing monsters, which was an efficient and effective way to do it. Why create new stats when all the change is some flavor?

Social rankings, cultural things to help one roleplay a Viking, and magical items rounded out the good stuff. All of that was useful and needed and good, but really doesn't stand out as much as the things in Chapter 3 and 4. However, all of it is good advice on how to really make the setting seem more Viking-era.

The Bad Stuff
It would have been nice if each rune was given an illustration, but alas, such cannot be found in this sourcebook. Pictures of some of the monsters would have been nice. The book does not stay open well, which sometimes is an annoyance when creating a character.

If you are wanting to either run a campaign set on Earth during the Viking era, or run fantasy campaigns with a Viking-like people, this book was invaluable. Most of it is rules-neutral or easily modified to just about any ruleset. I've used it with AD&D, D&D 3rd Edition, Pathfinder, and even Conan (for the Aesir). It's a great resource, and I recommend it to anyone who wants to roleplay a Viking-style character. The book is simply full of great advice to accomplish that goal.
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Aleksandar Vjestica
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Still my favorite add-on. Back in my high school this book inspired me to go for research into middle age cultures. I'm still inspired to use the monster compendium the way described in the "...and monster" chapter: for troll sorcerer villain I used ogre mage.
And berserker and runecaster classes...

It works beautifully!
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