04 August, 2015

Ronden Marr Player's Guide: A Review

I don't often do reviews. I think the last time I did one was a critique on +Josh T Jordan's Heroine. Which was a pretty awesome game but generally lacking in a few areas for the style of play I'd have hoped for. (Here's that review)

This time I'm looking at something I've been looking at for a while, +Jesse Morgan's Ronden Marr Player's Guide.

The Points

It fits squarely into the genre of gaming products known as "megadungeons".

This is a system agnostic product. It'll go with any system (basically), but is a self contained world for your game (it's not designed to be inserted into an existing game world).

Pretty standard fantasy fare, but with enough twists to keep it fresh and interesting.

It's $1.99. Seriously, I've seen $30 books with less storytelling potential in them.

The Details

Ronden Marr is a vast underground fantasy city built on several levels. It is a Dwarven engineering feat (as many underground cities in fantasy tend to be), but it was built as an ark to protect the surviving population of many races from a global warming catastrophe that has scorched the world.

This players guide is a starting point for the description of a world. It's certainly not a complete game in it's own right...you could probably fit it into just about any other game world, if you wanted to see a claustrophobic political post-apocalyptic conclusion to your campaign, once you establish Ronden Marr as canon, there's no turning back to green and lush pastures.

The first thing that I think as I read through the game is that it feels to me a bit like the now-classic campaign setting "Dark Sun", all the familiar races are there, but they've been twisted slightly to fit in with the way things work in this variant fantasy. Familiar enough that it isn't a leap for new players, but not your run of the mill Tolkein or D&D-clone.

The second thing that I think as I read through it is that I want more images. The current imagery has a bit of a comic feel to it, which is a bit at odds with the logo developed for the settings, so maybe a variety of image styles might help, each depicting the way different races see their setting from their own perspective. I know that images take time, and I wish I had the time to do more images for my own projects, but if I had enough time, I'd love to through a few pictures in Jesse's direction to flesh out the imagery of the world he has described in words.

There seems to be some awesome potential here, and I can only suggest that a few people have a look at it so that he might have the enthusiasm to keep exploring the world (and maybe launch a physical copy of the world in the future).

I am willing to admit that with my own post apocalyptic projects, and a pseudo-megadungeon in the works, there might be a common interest in what this product is trying to achieve and this may be a contributing factor to my enthusiasm in seeing a different approach to the subject matter.
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