Company: Mongoose Publishing
Writer: Vincent Darlage
Retail Price: $ 34.95
First ImpressionA sourcebook for the (OGL d20) Conan Roleplaying Game, and it's a pretty good size for such a specific volume. The cover is gorgeous, and the page borders match the ones in the Core rulebook. The entire book is focused toward giving both Player and GM plenty of information on the grandest kingdom of the Hyborean Age - Aquilonia (mhmm, the kingdom that Conan eventually becomes king of).
The IntroductionPretty basic, as are most introductions to gaming supplements. It runs over the basics of how you might want to run your game, and why Aquilonia is a good place to start.
The Proudest KingdomLife in Aquilonia. More information than you'll probably ever need for any one game is right here. This is the basic chapter that sums up what life is like in Aquilonia -- so any game that takes place in that great country would benefit greatly from a GM that makes extensive use of this tome. Everything from clothing trends, honour, and allegiances of your typical Aquilonian.
Following that is a fair-sized discussion on the role of women in Aquilonia, including their typical roles, love & marriage, a woman's dowry, and all the other tidbits that go along with the concepts of marriage. Propery, slavery, occupations & guilds, prostitution & concubines, trade & the economy, social standing and caste -- all get full treatments. The chapter ends with the Aquilonian calendar, which is based around agriculture.
Clearly there's too much information to try to summarize it all. Suffice to say, it's a really great chapter full of information that you otherwise may never have thought of - but can certainly add a certain level of believability and a sense of realism to a game. Plus, who doesn't want some concubines?
A Breed ApartI'm not totally sure I follow why this chapter was even necessary, to be honest. It's not a long chapter - simply defining the different provinces of Aquilonia, and the feats and skills most commonly found among the different castes of those provinces. I feel this information, while useful, could certainly have been condensed into the previous chapter, perhaps as its own subsection. But as its own chapter, this information just seemed oddly placed, and not very necessary. Don't get me wrong, though; There's still good information in this chapter, but the chapter could have been much shorter - and as I mentioned - condensed into the previous chapter.