"Go to the sign of Harvel's Axe, a dubious inn on the edge of the Thieves Quarter, in the City of Greyhawk, and look to your own wrist. If you perceive a bracelet and dangling dice, watch for the next throw in the war between Law and Chaos and be prepared to follow the compelling geas." -Signal

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Arcana Evolved - Ruins of Intrigue

I have written about Dragon Magazine #54 before. This may very well be one of if  not my absolute favorite issue. I wrote previously that I have referred to it  innumerable times in the past. One of the reasons is the article on city ruins.  I am not sure why the idea of city ruins fascinate me so much. It might be from  the first look at the Statue of Liberty covered in sand that sparked it and then  it was fueled to its height by the cover of the original Gamma World box and the  remains of DC in Logan's Run. I have designed a few ruined cities but have never  been fully satisfied with what I designed.

I am afraid that this book though promising did not live up to what I had hoped  it would be. Please don't take that as me saying the product is not a good  product but it is still not what I want in a ruined fantasy city. I may have to  some day take a great fantasy city and destroy it into ruins. If anyone knows of  any good products with ruined cities I would love to hear about it.

Ruins of Intrigue is more of a framework that a pen to paper layout of a ruined  city. It is a campaign or adventure setting more than an adventure proper. For  what it is it is an excellent product and the premise answers one of my dilemmas concerning city ruins. It is hard to have a large city in ruins anywhere near  civilization and if it is not near civilization how to get the players close  enough without seeming contrived. What better than a city that was hidden in  plan sight for centuries.

The book is well done and is missing the watermarked pages that in some cases make newer products hard to read test wise. As I have aged I would like to see  a larger font used in some books and this could use a slightly larger one. The  book is also a little text heavy and it might benefit from some more images  breaking the text up though a larger font could reduce the need for that. The  material more than makes up for the concerns over the formatting though. This  book may not be for everyone and it is very much campaign specific so using it  outside Arcana Evolved might pose a serious level of work but for ideas it is  well worth it.

Published: 2005
Pages: 94

From the back:

"The ruins of Serathis loom high in the mountains. Only recently discovered,  this ancient city draws many to its shattered streets in search of treasure and  adventure. Giants and dragons square off on opposite sides of the ruins, each  seeking to hold the city and its wealth. The winds of war howl in the distance.  Vast wealth and terrible monsters await!

Ruins of Intrigue is an innovative approach to adventure creation. It provides a  detailed, modular overview of Serathis. Major NPCs and locations have sets of  optional secrets and variants, making every campaign different. A rich array of  ideas, plots, and vying factions gives you varied ideas for creating adventures.  Just pick a hook, choose a goal, select an obstacle, and you're ready to go.  Suitable for Arcana Evolved characters of all levels."

Publisher Blurb:

Adventure and Intrigue in the World of the Diamond Throne!

The ruins of Serathis loom high in the mountains. Only recently uncovered, this  ancient city draws hundreds to its shattered streets in search of treasure and  adventure. Giants and dragons square off from opposite sides of the ruins. The  winds of war howl in the distance. Vast wealth and terrible monsters await!

Ruins of Intrigue provides the foundation for an entire campaign using the Monte  Cook's Arcana Evolved variant player's handbook. It presents Serathis, a ruined  city located between territories claimed by the giants and dragons. Both  factions seek to hold the city and its treasure, setting the stage for conflict.  The book's adventure source material will take your characters to 10th level and  beyond.

Ruins of Intrigue also contains new monsters, secret societies, organizations,  and other material that reflects the city's ancient secrets. And its modular  design allows all player levels and character affiliations to use this  campaign-in-one-book.

This comprehensive look at an exciting new realm of adventure gives DMs the  chance to start and run a campaign with ease and offers an characters the  opportunity to play an important role in the Lands of the Diamond Throne.

1 comment:

Zimri said...

I have critiqued its story-structure here:

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