Review: Bluffside City on the Edge

Bluffside: City on the EdgeIn the days of d20 we had more than a few city supplements published. Freeport is the most famous and the easiest to use with all of its support. It is a gritty pirate city making it easy for players to understand and the original trilogy of adventures written for it as well as other after that served as a great introduction and way to make good use of Freeport. But while Freeport is great, and I did run a very enjoyable campaign there it was not my favorite city published in the days of d20. That honor goes to the city of Bluffside. Bluffside is a city built on the ruins of a lost civilization. It is written with creativity and plenty of mystery that appeals to me. I just hope this time around it gets the support it deserves and that some of the many mysteries the book raises get some kind of answer.

The new version of Bluffisde is written for the Castles and Crusades RPG. It is not a system I like and when it was first announced I was not going to buy it for that reason. However, I found my old copy of the original and was reminded on how much I enjoyed reading the setting. I did eventually buy a copy and I am pleased that I did. I have zero intention of ever using it with Castles and Crusades but luckily there are very few rules that I would need to convert into whatever system I might use when running the setting.

Bluffisde has a rich history and is filled with mystery. A very long time ago there was a civilization that was destroyed in a cataclysm. Bluffside is built over and around the ruins of one of their cities and seemingly the center of the cataclysm.  It is named Bluffside because it sits high on a cliff over the ocean. The many districts of the city are in many ways small cities themselves. Each district is separate as the area the city is built on has crevasses that make it impossible to build a single large expansive city. This really makes the different area unique and feel much more like small neighborhoods.

The books is filled with great places of interest that are ridiculously easy to use. Each one defines a shop or building, lists the regulars so it is easy to know which NPCs one might encounter there, and lists a couple hooks to turns any point of interest into a seed for some type of adventure. Some of the hooks are complex, others are just simple sentences, and all serve to be a good starting point for some type of adventure – big or small.

The book does have a lot of Castles and Crusades information in it. It has 20 pages that are just NPC stats, and many pages of creatures, spells, items, classes, etc. They take up almost half the book coming in at about seventy of the hundred and seventy pages. Because of that, the decent sized book becomes a lot smaller for people like myself that will get little use out of those pages.

Bluffside is a city of mystery. There are plenty of underground caves that can lead to ancient ruins. Even the ancient palace the city is built around has not fully been explored in over a century. There are ancient magics alongside a very modern political set up that create issues for the player characters. There are a few powerful groups each with different agendas and knowledge of the city and its mysteries. The area around the city is also still wild. There are valuable metals to be found in the mountains along with tribes of goblins and other monsters. It is a city ripe with opportunity for adventuring.

Chris Gath.  I’ve been gaming since 1980 playing all kinds of games since then.  In the past year I’ve run Pathfinder, Dungeon Crawl Classic, Paranoia, and Mini d6.  My current campaign is mini d6 and we are using that for a modern supernatural conspiracy investigative game.  On some forums I’m known as Crothian and I’ve written a few hundred reviews though I took a sabbatical from reviewing for a few years as it burnt me out.  I was also an judge for the Gen Con awards (ENnies) six times.  Jeff, the owner of this blog, is one of my players and a good friend.