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Modern gaming features some of the most creative work in Fantasy and Science Fiction today. From the rich background of TSR's Forgotten Realms to the detailed future of White Wolf's Trinity, gamers and game authors around the world are enjoying some of the most fully-realized fictional settings ever created. If you're looking for innovative ideas and energetic prose, look no further.

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New Gaming Arrivals: November 1998, Part I
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Faction War (AD&D Planescape Adventure)
Monte Cook and Ray Vallese
TSR (2629, gamebook, 128 pages, $19.95 US/$28.95 Can)
One of the first gaming adventures I ever purchased from TSR (G1: Steading of the Hill Giant Chief, 1979) was a total of 8 pages -- an entire evening of giant-whomping fun. An adventure module of 128 pages was pretty much unthinkable back then. Nowadays, that's taken for granted. I tell you, young folk today have it easy. "Six centuries ago, events surrounding the Great Upheaval imposed an uneasy peace in the City of Doors. But now tensions are flaring, tempers are rising, and the Cage is about to explode into conflict." Includes substantial detail on the fifteen factions (Fifteen! Back in the seventies, adventures only had two factions, and we considered ourselves lucky!) in the city, a detailed timeline of the conflict, and adventures to draw your PCs kicking and screaming right into the heart of the conflict. Based on material presented in the Planescape accessories In the Cage, Factol's Manifesto, and Uncaged: Faces of Sigil, but usable standalone. For 4 to 6 characters of fifth to ninth level (Ninth level! Back in the old days, nobody made it past fifth level. Levels meant somethin' back then. Now gather round kids, and let me tell ya about the great RPG famine of '81...)
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Art: Fred Fields
Calimport (AD&D Forgotten Realms Campaign Expansion)
Steven E. Schend
TSR (9589, game module, 96 pages, $16.95 US/$21.95 Can)
"The fabled City of Glory. Its wonders remain unmatched by any other city across Faerun, e'en Waterdeep, for Calimport does not impede anyone's business due to some overbearing morality." "Overbearing morality" isn't the first phrase that springs to mind to describe Waterdeep -- which gives you an idea of what to expect in the ancient and some-say-decadent trade city of Calimport, seat of Calishite power since the djinni lord Calim arrived 80 centuries ago. Expanding greatly on material presented last month in the Forgotten Realms Campaign Expansion Empires of the Shining Sea, this book includes the history of Calimport, a close look at its landmarks and districts, and numerous magical items and artifacts. "Come explore one of the oldest cities of Faerun... but know that a thousand eyes and a thousand intrigues swirl about you at any moment!"
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Art: Terese Nielsen
Jakandor, Land of Legend (AD&D Odyssey Campaign Adventure)
Dale Donovan
TSR (09472, gamebook, 144 pages, $21.95 US/$28.95 Can)
Third in the Odyssey series, after Jakandor: Island of War (Feb. 1998) and Jakandor, Isle of Destiny (June). Jakandor is a new, self-contained "campaign arena" conceived by Jeff Grubb, co-author of the Forgotten Realms campaign setting. Jakandor is an island of unnatural dangers, a land where the barbarian Knorr have been driven, and where they encounter the Broken People, "despicable wielders of vile magic who rely on legions of animated corpses to do their fighting." Whereas the first volume detailed new Knorr barbarian character kits and new forms of magic, and the second followed with the history, culture, and magic of the Charonti people, the final volume in the trilogy details the inevitable clash between the two -- with additional sites, expanded random encounter charts, and a full-colour map which features the first true view of the island. Adventures for either society are included, as well as a mini-campaign in an extensive underground ruin and rules for the epic battles between the two cultures. According to TSR, this trilogy is to be followed by Jakandor: Land of Destiny written by creator Jeff Grubb, in January 1999. I don't know about you, but I'm confused by those titles already.
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AD&D Core Rules CD ROM 2.0 (Reference & Utility Software)
Sean Reynolds
TSR (Windows 95/98/NT software, $54.95 US)
I'll admit I have mixed feelings about this one. On the surface it looks like an incredible bargain -- packed onto a single CD ROM are no less than all nine core AD&D rulebooks -- including the Player's Handbook, Dungeon Master's Guide, Monstrous Manual, Arms & Equipment Guide, and Tome of Magic, along with all three Player's Options (Combat & Tactics, Skills & Powers, and Spells & Magic) and DM's Option: High Level Campaigns. But how often, really, will you boot up your machine to check a rule on a CD ROM? TSR seems to have realized this, and have improved this over Version 1.0 with the addition of some marvelous utilities that just might entice you to keep your laptop running and handy while gaming -- including software that allows you to quickly create custom characters, spells, races, items, treasure, NPC's, and encounters. In addition, two very attractive and versatile mapping programs are included: Map Maker, for quick, easy maps, and Campaign Mapper, from the makers of Campaign Cartographer 2. With these two programs you can build outdoor, dungeon, and city maps with relative ease. Now if only there was a demo disk to allow you to try it out once or twice first....
The City of Raven's Bluff (AD&D Forgotten Realms Campaign Expansion)
Ed Greenwood
TSR (9575, gamebook, 160 pages, $24.95 US/$32.95 Can)
It's hard to do a good city module -- not just because cities are cities are tough to design, harder to flesh out, and harder still to keep fresh, but because very few are willing to lay down the excruciating amount of detail it takes to really bring a teaming fantasy metropolis to life. Leave it to Ed Greenwood, creator of the Forgotten Realms campaign setting and author of Elminster in Myth Drannor, to make it look easy. This huge 160-page tome is packed (and I do mean packed) with detail on the famous Raven's Bluff, home of the Living City campaign. Included are the history of the city, stretching all the way back to Lost Sarbeen, the dwarven city buried beneath its foundations, as well as new monsters and magic, hidden cults and societies, and details of the great Vast which surrounds Raven's Bluff. Bound into the book is a large colour map, which comes with a detailed walking tour past hundreds of the city's most interesting locations. Until the Michelin Guide to Raven's Bluff arrives, this is the guide you need.
Dawn of the Overmind (AD&D Monstrous Arcana Adventure)
Bruce R. Cordell
TSR (9572, adventure module, 64 pages, $13.95 US/$18.95 Can)
The AD&D Monstrous Arcana adventure modules feature lengthy entanglements with some of the most challenging members of the AD&D creature pantheon, and -- in theory at least -- pull back the curtain a bit on their culture and dark habits. The first set dealt with the Sahuagin, and Dawn of the Overmind is the third and final installment in an adventure trilogy focusing on the dreaded Mind Flayers, which began with A Darkness Gathering (released in June) and continued in Masters of Eternal Night (September). Building directly from material in Cordell's rich sourcebook, The Illithiad, this module takes adventurers on a journey over a vast world of ancient ruins. Buried somewhere on this bleak landscape is a powerful relic of ancient Illithid manufacture -- the only artifact capable of stopping the Mind Flayers from completing their mad quest to extinguish the sun. Although there appears to be no direct link, the planet-hopping material in this trilogy hearkens back to some of the best (and darkest) plotlines of the extinct AD&D setting Starjammer -- not a bad thing by any means. For 4-6 characters of levels eight to ten.
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