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Recent Books & RPGs

Here's what I've been reading recently:

18. The Scar by China Mieville – I loved Perdido Street Station but I think The Scar was even better. Set on the floating city of Armada and involving a scheme by one of its ruling factions, the creepy unseparable Lovers,  to raise an avanc (a gargantuan legendary fish and a name I knew beforehand from the 1st Edition Monster Manual II) and harness it to the city to pull it along, this novel is a gripping read from start to finish.

19. The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett – moderately amusing novella about the Queen becoming obsessed with reading books. Not the kind of thing I normally read but I wanted something light.  Rather slight and I can’t believe the publisher can feel justified charging £6.99 for a book with 120 pages.

20. Persuader by Lee Child – another slightly far-fetched but no-less-enjoyable-for-it Jack Reacher tale, this time involving the return of an enemy from Reacher’s past.  I read it in less than three days. A cliché but it was almost unputdownable.

Adventure! – I got the d20 version of this White Wolf game for Christmas and only got round to reading it a few weeks ago. It’s a pretty solid game system but a lot of people have said d20 is not the best system for pulp adventures so I’ve also bought Spirit of the Century which I’m about 1/3 of the way through reading. The Fate/Fudge system will work better with the genre, I think, but I’m struggling with some of the concepts, particularly “tagging aspects.”


- Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide – I haven’t read all of this yet but the new post-Spellplague Realms look like a great place to run a game. As well as the changes to familiar places, the book also features the new continent of Returned Abeir which is ruled in part by dragons and provides a home to the dragonborn. Despite all the Realms-Shaking Events from the Avatar Trilogy onwards, the lands of Toril hadn’t really changed that much since the Old Grey Box and  I think Wizards were right to do a reboot to freshen things up. I’m looking forward to running a campaign in the new setting at some point.

- Blood of the Gorgon – this is Nick Logue’s 3.5 adventure for Open Design and is an interesting horror tale set in Wolfgang Baur’s city of Zobeck. I enjoyed reading it but have no idea when or if I’ll ever run it since it’s for 3.x.

- Punjar, the Tarnished Jewel
& Sellswords of Punjar – I’ve already mentioned Sellswords. It’s going to end up in the Parsantium campaign, as will bits from the free city guide. Good to see one of the major d20 publishers supporting 4e.

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December 2018
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