Today I have something special to share with you folks in terms of reviews. This isn’t a new system, or on that has been out for a while. Nor is this an adventure, supplement, or tool. It may contain all of these things though. For today’s review I have the first issue of the Moldy Codex by Axebane, aka Daniel Walthall. You can head over here to get a copy for yourself. This is not the only product by Axebane and I look forward to checking out more, but let us talk about the Moldy Codex.
What It Is
The Moldy Codex is a self-proclaimed fanzine for the Index Card RPG by Runehammer Games. It reminds me very much of a smaller, digital Dragon magazine for the the system. In this first issue is a great deal of content all squeezed into only 12 pages. Included are a village, an adventure, new monsters, a loot table, art, and a hand drawn character sheet for the ICRPG. Axebane also explains the goal of producing around six issues per year unless time and creative energies allow for more. Finally it should be noted that this product is based in high fantasy, though the system itself is not limiting to such a setting.
This first issue is, as I said, loaded with material. I think perhaps the most fantastic thing about it is that it has everything you could possibly want to play the ICRPG for the first time except the actual rules of the game. Without a doubt, I could (and would) readily use this for my introductory session of an ICRPG campiagn. The town of Hadorne is simple and small but includes a few iconic shops, random villager tables, and even a table with a handful of random encounters for those in the village. Following this are three pages of material that makes up the first adventure including map, art, random info for adventurers, options for concluding the adventure, and mechanics for the dungeon itself.
A village and nearby dungeon are great ways to start an adventure and campaign, but Axebane includes even more in the fanzine. Monster stat blocks, printable monster cards (as is the ICRPG way), and a d100 item table are all included as well. Especially helpful is the included timeline for what happens to the town over the days following the beginning of the adventure. With each passing day things become more dangerous and pressing, so that the longer the party spends in town the more they have to deal with. This all rounds out this “fanzine” to be more of a starter module. Finally there is also a hand drawn character sheet which really rounds of the content of this product. It looks good and matches the art style used in the zine, as well as looks great for a fantasy adventure.
This product might seem like it crams a whole lot into a little space, making you worried that things look bad or aren’t well done. Well you are right on only one account. There is a lot of content here. What is amazing about the layout is that Axebane has fully and efficiently utilized each page. Content is organized well and each page is dedicated to something specific without pieces getting lost to the top of another. Given that all the art, writing, and layout are done by Daniel it is a great piece that shows the care taken to create it.
The first issue of the Moldy Codex is only $1.50 which is a reasonable price point for the size of the work. What makes the cost magnificent is the content you actually obtain within it. Personally I have to recommend Axebane’s work to pretty much everyone who is interested. If you already play the ICRPG and want a good fantasy adventure and some content you can reuse (like monsters) than this is a great purchase. If you have never heard of the ICRPG then I still suggest you buy this if you can spare the dollar and a half. I had never heard of it either, and while the title alone intrigued me, this fanzine as gotten my attention enough to look into the system itself. The only thing you can’t get insight to would be the mechanics, but not to worry because I will be reviewing the ICRPG in a month or two!