To The North!
In case you haven’t heard, there’s now a lot more content for Nordlond: “Four New Nordlond Sagas: Available in PDF”
As a backer, I’ve had a chance to look the new books over, and here’s my thoughts. (Spoiler-free, I hope, since I know my players read these posts and I certainly want to use this material in my game.)
It’s playable races for Nordlond, and it’s fun stuff. I liked getting more information on how the local versions of elves and dwarves fit into the history and cosmology. My players have added the triger-folk to the list of races to threaten me with.
In Nordlond, especially my version of Nordlond, the gods and their affairs are never far away. This book was one I particularly anticipated. It gives an overview of the gods and their servants, the clerics and holy warriors. Every god gets a description, a set of changes to make to the base cleric template to build a follower of that god in particular (as opposed to the pantheon in general), a tailored spell list, and a pair of specialized holy gifts. I laughed out loud when I saw the God of Mischief’s second power.
While Hall of Judgment dealt with the fae side of Nordlond, Forest’s End deals more with the dragonkin end of things. It has a section on the history of the dragons, a location with supporting cast and several ongoing plots, and a honest-to-goodness dungeon crawl.
One of the things I really appreciate about the Gaming Ballistic adventures is how they neither railroad the players nor force assumptions upon them. You’re given the situation as it stands, and the PCs can show up and cause havoc however they feel appropriate. Forest’s End provides a collection of encounters and subplots for the area, so it’s possible to pick and choose the pieces one uses.
Of all the Nordland adventures, this is probably the one I’m most looking forward to running. It has a little diplomacy, a little ultra-violence, a little going down in dark holes full of traps and evil monsters, and enough shiny treasure to keep my PCs happy. It also has an open-ended story that could provide motivation and plot hooks for future adventure.
Dragons is presented as something of a “high-level” adventure, and it certainly lives up to it. The general outline is simple: there’s some evil afoot, so the PCs need to travel to where it is and put a stop to it. It gets complicated in the details. There are lots of different motivations and relationships at work, but it’s totally a sandbox. The PCs can approach it in a variety of ways, all guaranteed to lead to plenty of hijinks, derring-do, and impromptu arson.
One thing that stood out to me about Dragons was the hints about the wider world outside of Nordlond. They’ve been there all along, but Dragons really gives a feel for what’s out there. I’ll admit, I’m looking forward to a book about Inthriki, if one ever comes along. (Fingers crossed!)
With this one, I’m really looking forward to the look on my players’ faces when they realize what they’re actually up against. It’s like some sort of Saturday morning cartoon double-feature, where the bad guys call all hands on deck and the camera pans across the crowd and there’s ninjas next to killer clowns next to fire-breathing sea monsters. It’s like when the mastermind opens a door and shows the plucky hero the army that’s training right outside. It’s like… a thing where you would not want to just start kicking the nearest evil butt and hope everybody forms an orderly line.
Overall, very pleased with the line and looking forward to hearing more about the world of Nordlond.