By Wind Lothamer & Ahimsa Kerp Knight Owl Publishing OSR Level ?
An in-depth look at the once-peaceful Isle of Annalida, now subject to a brutal occupation.
This 66 page regional setting has about thirty pages devoted to locations on an island and the rest of the pages devoted to new classes, spells, and monsters. It depicts a “normal” worm island that is being invaded by the Meat Lord. Gonzo beyond gonzo, but not nearly as gonzo as Chaos Gods Come to Meatlandia, the core setting this booklet is a supplement to.
Look, because someone commented that they wanted a review of it, alright?
First, a couple of warnings. I don’t do setting reviews. I don’t really know what makes a good setting. This is a setting supplement. So I’m going to fumble through the review. Second, this thing is gonzo. I mean, this thing out Gamma Worlds Gamma World and out Rifts Rifts. And this is a relatively “normal” part of Meatlandia, not the REALLY crazy stuff from Chaos Gods. So, if you’re in to a setting that features maggots, giant worms, meat men and meat mechs then forge on.
The digest booklet details an island off the coast of Meatlandia that is relatively normal, as far as things go in this fucked up world. Still a fuck ton of worms, and its being invaded by the Meat Lord. The ladder of the islands resistance may or may not be dead. You get twenty or so locations “described” as well as some monster stats, new spells (lots of worm magic!) and a couple of new classes … that can be summarized as “Worm Druid” and “Worm Ranger.” Imagine a pastoral land with rangers and druids, but theme them to worms, and then have that land invaded by MeatMen and technology. You’ve got the setting. Yeah. Moving on.
The twenty or so locations generally get one of sometimes two digest pages to describe them. Maybe a little in-voice “diary entry” to give some flavour text and then a little overview. The background of the location, what happened, what the place is like, maybe something going on. A couple of paragraphs. For the “Blood Lake” entry you get a paragraph describing a battle that happened there, and thus why it is called blood lake. Then one with a sentence of description and a rumor about bathing nude in the lake. Then a paragraph about a rumor about a woman ta the lake. Then one about the woman. There is also most of a column with some (FUCKING ITALICS!!!!) flavour text … that is also offset in a grey box. So, box, different background color AND italics. Three ways to denote it is something else. Finally, there is a little table on what happens if you immerse yourself in the blood lake. (This would normally be a wandering monster table.)
It’s ok, I guess. There’s some overall theming of a resistance movement and the invaders … mostly the resistance movement. It’s not a hex crawl, or adventure, but a regional setting.
As presented it’s pretty open ended and I can’t help but think that it would be better with just a little more specificity embedded in it. A short timeline might have been interesting, detailing future events of the invaders and resistance. That would turn this in to more of a campaign setting and allow the DM to more easily integrate the characters. It also feels like the thing has more of a bend towards the resistance than the Meat Lord; there’s not a lot about the Meat Lords plans or armies, mostly patrol stuff.
It’s also lacking a certain specificity … and weird specific in other places and generic in other places. A wandering table might just have stats for a Lamia. Or it might say that you find a big pile of pineapples which have a copper talisman underneath. The pile? Specific. The Talisman? Generic & abstracted. Or, you run across a group of rangers embroiled in their own troubles. What are they? Not listed. A small inline d4 table would have been great, in this instance, adding flavour and allowing the DM to then riff on it. Sure, you can make this shit up, but the purpose of these supplements is to help and inspire the DM and a little more help is in order, I think.
Overall, the setting is flavourful as fuck. The locations, less so. I’m not sure the text, as written, is very strong. The IDEAS are, and the overall concept is definitely striking. But the actual location entries could be much stronger. It’s dipping too much, I think, in to irrelevance. Maybe a bit too much in the history of a location. Maybe the “diary entry” space could be reclaimed for text that makes the entry more effective. A little more specificity and a little more in the way of turning this little region in to a campaign. For $12? Meh, I’ll pass.
This is $12 at DriveThru. The preview is eight pages and is a shitty shitty preview. It’s just the first eight pages, most of which is just title page, blank page stuff. The preview should show a couple of the actual locations, maybe a page of class/spells and/or monsters. Really give us an idea of what to expect when we buy it.