Thursday, April 9, 2015

Darkshade Publishing's "A Day in Baru-Kesh"

After a couple years of plodding away at this work, Jerry Teleha, or JerryTel as I affectionately call him, "A Day in Baru-Kesh" has been released as a solo and a GM dungeon piece. I've spent the last few days reading it. Now this isn't because I am slow reader, but because this is one big book of tunnel delving. There are 116 pages in my print copy. The first seventy pages, or so, are a solo dungeon, which should make worth while to most folk that like T&T. There are two characters generated for the casual reader to use. Then the latter part of the book is material organized for a GM-ran adventure. Throughout all of the book there is plenty of eye-catching art. This work is definitely a a whole evening's entertainment, not a snippet of a fantasy trip.

One of the more appealing things to me about the adventure here is the sense of scale. JerryTel has designed the scenarios for "low level Rogues or Warriors" meaning "30 or less" in T&T Combat Adds. From my rummaging around the solo with one of the author's pre-gen Characters, Jeremiah Fey, the combats seemed well designed-- heck I even had options where I didn't have to fight everybody I cam across. Definitely not your father's T&T solo here.

The author does a nice job of keeping the atmosphere of his adventure interesting but not overbearing. While influenced by the Arabian Nights, Teleha feels free to not to stick strictly to the tropes established by those tales. This leads to the some great events that mix and match fantasy allusions. Being from Toledo, Ohio, the author will can get some bull-fighting allusions from Spain, which was Moorish for quite a long time. Spain had a whole bunch to do with the Roman world, so some Greco-Roman monsters can't hurt. As a dude that designs my own fantasy realms all the time, I wholly dig this poetic creativity. Hey it worked for Sinbad of movie fame. Of these events more than likely the "Minotaur Run" is going to be most everyone's favorite.

This brings me once again to the understanding of the system and mechanics of the game displayed in the work. I spent some time in the GM section reading through the "Minotaur Run" part and it works nicely. The event delivers in role-playing drama potential. A map is thrown in as a crutch for the miniature dependent GM, but the conventions used can keep the escapades wholly visceral, which is pretty good T&T design in my book.

Baru-Kesh has been one of the better gaming reads that I've had this year to date. It has a lot of material. The writer works to keep the adventure within the grasp of its expected audience. He compliments the field of T&T scenarios with an atmospheric piece, which also doesn't let itself be overly tied to that atmosphere for the sake of freshness for the reader.

It is a King Kong of a book. After reading the whole thing, I want more encounters and more adventures to keep my player-characters around the western shores of the Eerie Sea a little longer.

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