Today we are featuring Bosco Atro: The Countryside, another inevitable manual belonging to the strand of manuals related to the Adventures in Middle-earth. The manual is accompanied by the supplement Regions: Rhovanion, with which it creates a synergy practically compulsory.
The manual is immediately presented as a guide through the events that lead Bosco Atro from 2947 to 2977, the year of King Bard's death in Bale. These years bring Mirkwood to the joyful place (to say) that was before the arrival of Sauron up to the dark place that we find in the events narrated by the Lord of the Rings, so to speak. The campaign covers 10 or more levels, from the 5th to the 15th, with a lot of additional material thanks to the last pages of the manual and to our simple imagination.
Bosco Atro: The Countryside it comes dangerously close to other exquisitely toolbook modules, like D & D's Rise of Tiamat, but leaves a much more fertile and pleasant ground behind it. The narrator is not left to himself and, on the contrary, is wisely guided in what is the story of Mirkwood. All this over the course of these thirty years, with almost 30 specific and varied adventures. If you want to add material you can reach around 70 scenes, maybe even more. A lot, a lot of material. They range from the simple encounter to the event of choice between allies with possible subsequent events, up to the investigation / hunting in the company of more or less important characters. Many adventures are then linked to each other, following more or less story lines distant in time.
It is not in the creation of adventures that the manual expresses its best, but in the faithful transposition of what is the Tolkenian style. Every meeting, every event and every character is faithful to what Tolkien he wrote, which pleasantly caught my attention.
The images faithfully recall the spirit of Mirkwood and Valleys, helping the reader to imagine the places in which the adventures take place and the characters with which they have to do. A touch of class that could not be missing, in my opinion, is the presence of technical notes here and there, as new background or privileges.
General Opinions on the Bosco Atro Campaign
Bosco Atro: The Countryside contains many equally interesting insights, consequently it easily caught the attention of the whole editorial staff. Each of us appreciated its contents and stories and in a short time we found ourselves dreaming of the Bard and Bain valleys.
Trying to frame the manual itself I couldn't do without flank it a Rise of Tiamat, which I mentioned recently. Like the latter, Bosco Atro: The Countryside it's a ToolBook, a book useful to build the unrouted campaign (as happens in other AP); however, it is not as vague as RoT and, indeed, it is rather specific, interesting and terrifyingly coherent with the world of Arda.