" You'll find yourself intrigued but inevitably left wanting. "
Title: The Dying Earth RPG by Pelgrane Press
Format: Fantasy Role Playing
Reviewing Monkey: Dungapult
The Hype: Based on the fantasy novels by Jack Vance, Dying Earth is the role-playing game for the Tales of the Dying series. Set in a retro future in which science has died and magic rules, Dying Earth is a game that is supposed to let you wear flop hats with feathers and yet still feel manly.
What This Monkey Thought...
Story and Drama: Unfortunately, table top games based on existing properties often fall into a very common trap. Generally speaking there is so much story and drama in the IP (intellectual property) on which they're based that they completely forget to include any significant background or drama in the RPG books themselves. And as much as I'd like to say Dying Earth is otherwise, it too falls into that same trapping. While there are tons of role-playing aids and a strong emphasis for characterization, there just isn't any meat on the bones of this role-playing system. 2 out of 5
Layout and Presentation: Other books take note- the cover of Dying Earth is the gorgeous, painted mood setting kind of piece we love to see on games. That quality isn't shirked on the inside, either…with nice quality inked interiors, a pleasant overall layout, and an easy to navigate table of contents it's hard to find much fault with Dying Earth's presentation. Best of all, though (and something I always draw attention to) is the index in the back that makes finding your lines simple and easy. 4 out of 5
Playability: Definitely designed with a strong role-playing element in mind, the general consensus in the office is that Dying Earth is the "thinking mans" dungeon crawler. Part abstract story telling, part Tolkein immersion, Dying really manages to create a system that lets you pit wit (as opposed to muscle) against your foes. Unfortunately, the system itself tends to be a bit convoluted and slightly overly complicated, so while you'll like the freedom and depth it offers you may well shirk it in favor of a system you already know like Storyteller. 3 out of 5
Desired Content: The Dying Earth main book is really just the most basic introduction to system, characters, and world and thus I'll have to address this set in two ways. The first is that if you're already a reader of Jack Vance and know all the stuff this book gives rules for- you'll probably love it and find everything you need. On the other hand, if you've never read it (and I haven't) you'll find yourself intrigued but inevitably left wanting. There's just not enough background, weapons, and story to keep you running. 3 out of 5
|A fairly cool system and a great world concept that, unfortunately, is way too underdeveloped. In the end, however much I want to get into it I keep drifting to the games that give me more meat to munch on.|
The Good: Neat story and character driven set up.
The Bad: Not enough depth.
The Overall Ugly: When they release more supplements that tell me why (as opposed to what) I'm playing I'll be all over it.
What it's Worth: Market if you know about the world, otherwise…