Monday 2 January 2012

Dwarf World {Reviews}

It's a rare pleasure when Ken St. Andre releases a GM adventure rather than a new solo. Don't get me wrong, I love solo adventures like Rupert Murdoch loves money, but it's nice to see established writers come out with a multiplayer scenario every once in a while.

Dwarf World is not your conventional by-the-numbers adventure. Rather, it gives a GM the ingredients she needs to run a game (or five) in a subterranean setting. It's more of a mini campaign setting, presenting the locations, monsters and dwarvern attitudes that players will come up against. For this reason, I don't recommend this adventure for new GMs or even intermediates. To really create a cohesive narrative, the GM will need to be a good improviser with a hefty amount of experience under her belt.

Herein lies the blessing and the curse of Dwarf World. The meat of the book lies in random tables that throw up bad guys, mines, cities, NPC encounters and all that good stuff. Playing it straight 'out of the box' is nigh impossible unless you're a really good GM. Ken does a great job describing this underground universe with its endless mines and its city structures. There are loads of nice little adventure hooks weaved throughout the random tables that a good GM will pick up and roll with.

David Ullery's artwork is outstanding as usual with a wonderfully evocative cover depicting a mass dwarf- goblin battle. T&T is lucky to have such dedicated artists like Ullery, Jeff Freels and Simon Tranter, who I think capture the essence of the game beautifully.

Dwarf World is whatever you make of it. On the one hand, as it's not a traditional adventure it might be hard for a novice to wrap their heads around, but on the other, experienced GMs should have no problem extracting multiple sessions of play in this rich setting.


  1. I have checked the preview on Drivethru. Is the whole adventure just a succession of semi-random encounters like the ones one can see on the preview?

  2. @賈尼 Essentially, yes. You're given random encounters/monsters and descriptions of the world and denizens. As I say, it's really up the GM to put together a cohesive narrative.

  3. Thanks for the review. I first heard about this via an RPGNow "follow your favorites" email. Neither the preview or the description seem to explain the random/sandbox nature of the product. But that said I think I'm more likely to pick it up now since I do love a good sandbox...

  4. @akfu23 I'm glad it's helped. Yeah, I wish there was more of a description of the product. If you're a confident GM then I reckon you'll get some goods stuff out of this.