Hi, sorry I didn't get back to you sooner! When I wrote it, I was imagining the shoggoth making unpleasant, deep, bubbling sounds and constantly changing shape. But your interpretation makes sense to me too!
Librarians and Leviathans
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Enjoyed this story very much - I hadn't previously read the original, and it was very interesting to see the contrast and how you'd drawn out your own version of the story from it. More please!
Aw, thank you CM! I was modelling it on my 90s textbooks to try and get the right atmosphere, though it still needs a bit of tweaking. I'm glad it's worked well for you. Was your The Copse also strictly off-limits except for that one science class where you go in to count things?
I just learned that reviews aren't public and only the owner can see them, which is... not how reviews work, what!? So here that is for people browsing.
We ran this over Christmas as a group of 4. We had a great time; we are not the quickest of groups usually, but got through this in 3 hours. It's easy to run, and doesn't need much prep if you've run games before - in fact I'd briefly glanced over the adventure a few weeks before, and otherwise ran it on the fly.
The plot is simple enough to be easy for players to pick up on, while having enough wrinkles to keep things interesting. Mine immediately suspected some of what was going on, but I don't mind that - much better than them being baffled and unsure what to do. The character presentation with goals and complications was very helpful for improvising what happens.
To a large extent you could reskin this to a variety of settings by changing who people are and why the book is important. The link between the book, ceremony and kingship is specific (and non-intuitive) enough that it needs to be highlighted; this could be smoothed out if you'd run something else in the same setting beforehand.
Kirigaranan's section was made easier by my party getting Palan to show them the way and ease tensions a bit, which isn't something the adventure specifically covers but was simple enough.
We liked both the actual art and the presentation as a whole - it's not trying to be an intricate thing of beauty, which is good, because all too often that makes things inaccessible and hard to read. There's a good balance between looking nice and being easy to use.
The simple rules in the adventure look fine if you don't plan to run it in your system of choice. We actually ended up running it as a follow-up to Definitely Wizards and used the characters and rules from that, which worked pretty smoothly and was a fun combo.
Most of our group are/were library staff of one kind or another, so the presentation of the library was close to home. I'm not sure if the authors have library experience but it felt like it. Not having an address on file for Kirigaranan raised a few eyebrows around my table - I went with him having registered under the hotel where he stayed.
First, we'd all have liked to have the art collected at the end, so the GM can more easily show it to players! It was a bit of a faff showing them character portraits and so on without putting spoilers on screen. Having made the effort to find such nice art, it'd be worth making it easy for the players to enjoy.
Second, sometimes the division of information was a little fiddly to manage while GMing. In particular, information on Kirigaranan and his village is split between pages 4 and 10, so I ended up flipping back and forth a lot.
Oh, and thirdly, page numbers are always nice!
I just learned that reviews aren't public!? So I'm going to add that here as well.
Played this GM-less with a couple of friends over Christmas. Our game lasted around 2 hours (though we weren't exactly rushing) and was a lot of fun. We thought the art did a great job of setting the mood, and the character creation was a nice mix of simple and evocative.
It's quick to get into with minimal need to prep beforehand - as long as someone's read over the rules for spellcasting it'll be fine. No props or maps or anything are needed, just a way to roll dice.
The system is very light - it helps you generate the four parts of the Wizard Certification Practical Exam, then leaves you to it. This leaves the GM/group to decide how many separate challenges need to be overcome in a particular room, and judge when they've been overcome. We generally went with one successful roll per challenge (since failures often generate new obstacles) and that worked out well, with all of us teetering on the edge of exposure when we triumphed.
It was a great palate-cleanser between our usual longer-term games which are fairly crunchy. Our group wouldn't want to always play such freeform systems, but for a relaxing change of pace (or when some players can't make it) it hit the spot.
Who's it good for? We're all experienced GMs and found it comfortable enough as we're happy improvising and judging the level of challenges. As long as there's someone confident in the group either to GM or to support decision-making, you should be fine. We couldn't judge how it would be for an inexperienced group - I think it'd work well if they're happy treating it as improvised storytelling with the odd dice roll, but some might find the rules too light and want more support in terms of how many challenges, how many rolls, and when you've won.
We actually followed up by using our characters (and the system) to run Overdue, and found that it worked well; highly recommended.
Sorry Mograg, I only just saw this! There wasn't... but there is now! You can grab a copy here:
I'd like to know what you think :) It's pretty generic; the version in MMM is tailored to a Bronze Age setting, but you can just switch skills around to whatever setting you want.
This was a lot of fun, thanks! I'm very curious whether you've worked in libraries before... Non-combat adventures are always welcome, and we thought it worked well.
I've left a review for you so I won't repeat everything here. It's a bargain at the listed price (though I got it in one of your bundles), and I'd be happy to try further adventures in this setting.
Played this with a few friends and had a blast. It's very evocative! Left you a review.
One minor rules point: it's possible for *both* your stats to reach 6. One way is if you have 6 in Wizard and 5 in Wild, then fail a Wild casting roll, which happened to us. Another is if you have a 6 and 5, and then cover for another character's failure (for example, if they're already on a 6 in Wild).
We weren't quite sure what should happen here - one option is that character simply can't cast spells any more! Another is that there's some kind of dramatic magical event and then both stats drop to 2. I'm not sure it's something that needs specific rules, just thought I'd mention it.
(we wound up using the wizard's prop to bring them back down to 5 in Wild)
Honestly, I think you could do a lot worse. It's a clear system with pretty intuitive components. With a scenario or two attached you've essentially got a self-contained high fantasy game, along the lines of a board or party game, which could be accessible for people who don't normally play RPGs but like the genre.
Once people have played through those, if there's a setting they can turn to, they could branch out into creating their own within the guidelines of that setting, much more easily than with a blank slate. Plus other people could more easily write scenarios for it!