The Industrious Dungeon Master
Revisado en el Reino Unido 🇬🇧 el 5 de enero de 2021
Super packed offering from author of "The Lazy DM" Michael E Shea gives a memorable setting with a detailed history spanning a million years, numerous NPCs, ten adventures ranging in level from 1st to 5th level that can easily be played as a single campaign, maps, great illustrations, varied atmospheric settings, tips for running adventures, random encounters and spells, items, backgrounds. And more. As even this short summary shows, Shea is hardly following his own advice here and is anything but lazy...
The history sketched out in p23 to 34 is a miracle of brevity, giving an overview of the story of the ruinious eponymous Grendleroot, and Blackclaw Mountain and is packed with events and personalities useable in the adventures / campaign. DMs can reveal as much or as little of the history to players, and keeping some information unrevealed until the characters manage to uncover it is a massive driving force for getting characters, and more importantly players , coming back for more.
The adventures themselves make up the bulk of the book, and most are great, memorable, challenging and with developed hooks and follow ups. They are also all short enough for one session of play. The first, for me, is the weakest, "Starsong Tower" having pretty much no chance of deviation from the plot and failure not really being catered for. "Shatter", set in the subterranean Forest of Iron, is probably my fave. An atmospheric treat.
Bonkers asides, like a fantasy version of "Bring Your Daughter to Work Day" or a "Festival of Silly Hats" where characters can compete to design the daftest headgear, show why and how roleplaying can be differnt , more collaborative and immersive , than other forms of entertainment.
The advice about running 1st level adventures (p37) which can be boiled down to "Don't kill any of the characters" is diametrically opposed to what I see as the point of D&D and shortchanges new players. But it is clearly labelled as "It's up to you" and, to be fair, seems very much in keeping with how the current iteration of Gygax's Great Gift to Gaming" is going. The front cover illustration is less than stellar, lacking dynamism; it seems dull and murky to my eyes, which is a great pity. Most interior pictures, eg p130 or p85 or even some of Bryan Syme's excellent portraits of the various inhabitants of the Shadowreach, eg p124 or p135, would, for my money, be much more arresting front covers for this excellent resource.
A few "Easter Egg" references to earlier Sky Flourish adventures are scattered in the texts for alert appreciative readers.
An Overarching Underdark success that understands the advantages of the 5th edition of D&D , background, creating stories, fun and excitement.