Sunday, January 24, 2010

Arduin Advice

I'm contemplating the acquisition of volumes IV-VIII of the Arduin Grimoire series and would like some advice from those who own them: are they worth getting? I have the original three volumes and, while I'd never use everything in them, I've found them quite inspiring and often cherrypick good ideas/mechanics from them. Do the later volumes provide the same "bang for the buck?" If the general consensus is that they do, I'll likely pick them up, since I've been curious about them for some time.

Thanks in advance.


  1. As a whole they'd be a mess to try to incorporate but they have tons of little bits that are too sweet to pass on. Volume 4 and up do move further into their own game system and away from old-school D&D with stats to fit the "new game" more then the classic one.

  2. Aaaaggg...James is going all Arduin again!

    Just kidding. I got a lot of bits n' pieces out of the first three books over the decades, and I would not mind a look at the other three myself.

  3. Some stuff is pretty wacky (like his Dirty Dorg's undercity inn menu) but when Hargrave is on a roll it's pretty brilliant. I love his descriptions on all the gods, legendary gemstones, street gangs, orkish alchemy and monsters. However, if I had any real criticism is the Grimoire titled EndWar as It's obviously written by someone else and not at all good.

  4. Yea, I'd say they're worth the time to get and read. They are pretty inspired. I don't know how it all holds up as a system, but I always find Hargrave's stuff impressive and it always fires my imagination. The criticism about the last book, Endwar, is valid.

  5. I concur; if you have an opportunity to pick them up, do so. You're right; you probably won't pick out anything as-is and use it, but I think the later volumes are just as packed with inspiration as the first three.

  6. It should be noted that vols 4-8 (I haven't seen vol 9 'End War') of Arduin overall have less in the way of new rule mechanics (there's some here and there, but it's not as prevalent as in the first three books), and are more concerned with with 'flavor' bits of the setting, as well as new monsters and spells, of course.

    If you liked the first three books, then yeah, I'd say there's a pretty good chance you'll like the later ones, as well.

  7. My vote is yes. Like the rest of Arduin you will cherrypick. Like the rest of Arduin, there are LOTS of cherries.

  8. Absolutely, though Endwar I felt was the weakest for me. Arduin never fails to get my creative juices flowing.

  9. If you have the cash, get them all. You won't regret it.

    I'm lucky. I managed to collect them all when mere mention of them on a website was enough to get them free. How you may ask?

    Long ago, before Arduin was owned by Emperors Choice, it was possible to earn a book for every month that you featured them on your website. I managed to collect them all (I had already had the first three) over the course of a year or so. Very cool!

  10. In addition to the various Arduin products for free, I also got the Handbook of Traps and Tricks, The Dragon Tree Spell Book, The Delian Book of the Dead and the Monsterous Civilizations of Delos, all free, all from Dragon Tree Press for mentioning their products on my website, month after month.

    This was several years ago now and I don't believe they have the same offer.

  11. I can vouch for IV through VIII. Knightsky's comment is valid; there's less mechanics and more flavor. The look of the books changes drastically as well - The later volumes are not quite as jam-packed with stuff, featuring larger fonts and more sensible layouts. The feel of "mimeographed notes from a mad DM" found in the first trilogy is gone...for better or worse.

  12. I have all eight books and they're fantastic, but I've had them for ages (Dragon Tree Press editions). My favorite campaign setting was 1st Ed AD&D combined with flavor for the Arduin books.
    If you can find them, and are willing to pay the price, they are a great resource for anyone who likes old-school gaming.

  13. i got the cards, the first three pamphlets *you should see them now* as they came out in the 70s. waited years and saw thought the last five/dragon tree were great after the trilogy, lo9oking thru em at a store, but spotty in the creative end UNlike his early stuff. for example, the minions of the gods list was not as messed up at his other upper echelon demon, godlings in description and quirks.
    the 1st arduin printing had a thing called the phucker phactor which was changed in the second printing.)

    didnt find enough good stuff in Dark Dreams (?) or i couldnt afford it at the time. no input on that.

    get all his stuff what the f%@*&? he's the best as far as i'm concerned imho.

    when i went to his store a few times in concord to get things signed, and watch the mayhem and weird implode or unfold. things aren't quite what they seem. that gong is actually a fire demon. that horse is a stack of painted coins, etc.

    there were written on cool looking things he gamed with (im assuming) inside manila envelopes and folders. piles. who got all that cool stuff? his wife.
    the stuff he had in those stacks didnt seem to end up in the huge Compleat Arduin with all the crummy scans art in it, but it was 1978-9 i was there so my memory is fuzzy. thru the haze i remember how cool he was -and his shoulder moles are still haunting me.

    these are all dumb opinions from a has- been vampusa/werewasp.