Today’s review is of Dark Hold: Goblin Adventures for the Savage Worlds game system. This is a 72-page volume from Rebel Minis, written by Ian “Lizard” Harac, Chris Huddleston, Andrew J Lucas, Kyle Morgan, Jennifer R. Povey, Josh Vogt, and Jacob Wood. Cover art is by John Dotegowski. Dark Hold: Goblin Adventures retails for $19.00 USD.
Upon opening the book, we are greeted by the tale of Buzulg the goblin. This sets the stage for what is to come. The next chapter is devoted to the world of the Dark Hold, a setting within a setting. The Dark Hold is a valley that was once inhabited by dwarves who held the goblins as slaves. When the dwarven empire collapsed, the goblins took over two high valleys and the upper levels of the Dark Hold itself (because no one dares venture into the depths). The goblins then negotiated trade with the humans who hold the pass across the mountains.
After the full description of the Dark Hold comes the chapter on playing goblin characters. From appearance to personality to food and drink, every aspect of being a goblin is addressed in loving detail. There are new rules for crystal magic and for crafting. The gods of the Dark Hold goblins are then discussed. Finally, we get to the meat of the book; the goblin template, new Edges, and new Powers. There are three new Background Edges, a new Combat Edge, and a Leadership Edge, as well as a new Power. Following this is a discussion on playing low-power characters, a treatise that wise players will give heed to, as goblins are particularly low-power.
This is followed up by an introductory adventure, and several other adventures. “The Goblin Faire” introduces us to a typical goblin faire at which several goblins will vie for the hand of the “fair” chieftain’s daughter. In “Pursuit of the Perfect Pig,” our heroes carry on a quest to find a magnificent flying swine and his human companion. “Should We Eat It?” is the big question when a humanoid baby is found on the road. “Kitchen Chaos” ensues when something is eating all of the food for an upcoming festival and must be stopped. You’ll also have the chance to tag along on a “Pig Hunt.” “Tomb Raider Raiders” pits a handful of goblins against clever traps to recover an artifact. Finally, we’ll visit the mushroom festival in “Mushroom March.” Rounding out the book are appendices containing a multitude of new creatures, items, and several sample characters, including representatives of all traditional fantasy adventurers.
The interior artwork, also by John Dotegowski, is beautiful and really helps bring the book to life. Conceptually, this is an original product for Savage Worlds; I can’t say that I’ve seen a book devoted to playing goblins for that system. The ideas provided herein are fresh and were enough to pique my interest in the possibilities. I did find a number of small errors, such as word spacing, misspellings, and similar mistakes, but they were few and far between and did not detract from the product overmuch. Overall, I think that this is a welcome breath of fresh air (or maybe not-so-fresh; these are goblins, after all) and a good value for the money.
I couldn’t really find anything that I intensely disliked about the product. Just skimming over the adventures that are included makes me want to try this campaign just to run the adventures; they look like a good blend of action and humor. As a setting within a setting, this should be easy to drop into your existing fantasy realm with little or no problems. I strongly recommend that you give it a look.
For more information, check out http://www.rebelminis.com/dahogo.html. You can get your own copy of Dark Hold: Goblin Adventures at http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/199821/Dark-Hold-Goblin-Adventures.