Review for Valkyrie of Castille and Eisen sourcebooks for 7th Sea RPG.
Eisen and Castile, both lands torn apart by war, get the Nations of Théah source book treatment. Following the pattern of the previous books there are descriptions of the nations power structure, cities, sample heroes, monsters, personalities, expanded rules for battles and new fighting schools. The artwork, design and layout of both books is of the same high standard found in the earlier books. A few of the regular flaws, such as the lack of game details for ships, also continue. So what do they have that makes them distinctive?
Eisen is a dark, gritty, Germanic ruled by warlord princes and famed for its warriors. Torn apart by the War of the Cross the people are now struggling to rise from the ashes while surviving famine and in some areas foreign rule. Five princes each rule part of the land of the drachen in their own way. One is mad and broken another disinterested while a third is obsessed but unable to delegate. Sometime their differences and intrigues will explode into conflict again. One day someone may be able to rally enough of Eisen’s people and collect enough of the missing dracheneisen armaments of the Imperator to unite the land once more.
Eisen is nicely fleshed out with details on the origins of dracheneisen, a precious and very strong metal. The Nibelungs who craft it and a wide variety of armaments and weapons made from it ensure this part of Eisen is thoroughly covered. Along with the drachen kobolds and other feared beasts are covered in making any journey into the Schwartzen Walden (the black forest), the Drachenbergen mountains or the many ruins that are scattered across the war torn land more interesting
Contrasting to the darkness of Eisen, Castile is a land Mediterranean of vivid colours. Yet it too is a land in turmoil as its fights against the Montaigne forces that occupy a swathe of the land. While vibrant dances are performed and duels are fought for love and honour the desperate defence of the land goes on not far away. This is a land of intrigue, its current ruler not recognised as king by the church who are a great power in the land.
The identity of the masked mysterious defender of Castile, El Vago, that this book would reveal according to early publicity, is not included, presumably it will be in a secret society source book instead. However, for all Zoro fans, the Zepeda fighting style is included which focuses on the whip. Rules for fortifications, miracles, fire sorcery and Castillian blades all expand upon the possibilities for players.
If you are looking for a dark corner of Théah for your heroes to explore the Eisen nation book will provide plenty of opportunity for adventure. Castille is a lighter land more suitable if you are looking for roving Dons and romance but with the immediacy of the conflict as the war with Montaigne continues.