Produced via Kickstarter in 2012 the Troll Lord Games release of the Castles & Crusades Player’s Handbook is really a wonder to behold. Now granted, I’m a card-carrying member of the OSR, so I’m going to be a bit biased here, but nonetheless, this book is a stupendous build.
Written by Davis Chenault & Mac Golden, the book was designed by Peter “20 Dollar” Bradley and helps players familiar with OD&D ease into a bright and shiny new future of what the game should have evolved into had there been no ‘Edition Wars’.
Still, I’m here to talk about the art, so let’s get to it.
This book is a complete anomaly from the standpoint of art. Much like my earlier review of I3: Pharaoh, in which Jim Holloway did the entire module, this ENTIRE BOOK is done by artist Peter Bradley. Truly, and incredible feet, and I have to say my biggest take away from it is that Bradley seems a master of masking his artwork. He can vary detail and style with the best of them to give this book a comprehensive feel that more than one artist was responsible.
Assuming that he was the art director as well, it is an incredible thing to have done, and I applaud him for it because he absolutely had me fooled, and I believe I have a very good eye for such detail. Granted, some of his pieces were done more than a half decade ago, but still, even with artistic evolution in play I can normally see the connection.
Bradley’s work here, including all layout and production simply makes me shake my head in wonder, and for nothing else he gets another star for effort.
On the whole, there is nothing to pick at in this book save for a few sepia images that become too faded to make out the detail in them, even if held close. If those could have been dealt with in a different fashion, I’d call the book flawless, instead I’ll simply title it a brilliant work by an inspired artist.
Artistic Rating: 4 [out of 5 stars]
Geez, a few years ago you would have been burned as a heretic!! ;o)