Country Sites (1995) is the last of the site series of sourcebooks (another was planned — Planar Sites, but that turned into Vortex of Madness a couple years later). This is better than Castle Sites but a tiny bit inferior to City Sites, I think? It’s close. The upshot is that this is a book full of high quality material that is just shy of system agnostic, and thus a resource for all sort of RPGs.

There are two sorts of site here, minor and major. All of them include maps, history, NPCs and other necessary information. The minor sites are a bridge over a gorge, a fort, a toll house and a riverside inn. They are brisk little things, peppered with adventure seeds.

The major sites are more like short, open-ended adventures. There’s a haunted temple, a tent city in the caldera of a dormant volcano (is it a caldera if it is dry? I dunno, but this is not a lake), a necropolis, a floating ship’s graveyard (not unlike Hodgson’s Sargasso stories), an island prison, a big old wall and a bizarre castle. A couple of these are immediately identifiable riffs on real-world locations — the last seems like Bavaria’s Neuschwanstein, the wall is obviously Hadrian’s, the necropolis draws from the mastaba tombs surrounding the pyramids of Giza, the prison echoes Alcatraz. These all boast quite a bit more material. The ship’s graveyard seems particularly robust, with ten separate ships detailed (though no seaweed people, alas). I like pretty much all of this stuff, but I like it slightly less for those real world connections. They fix them in my mind in a way that is unhelpful and a bit prosaic. I expect that is my own damn problem, though.

Excellent illustrations throughout by Phillip Robb. Dennis Kauth did all the cartography, which is a clear selling point of the book and does much to evoke the site. I love Jennell Jaquays’ cover here, too. This one feels almost Games Workshoppish.

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