On a Useful Review of Red and Pleasant Land

Well, let's take a look.

  • This is the nicest, highest quality, rpg book I've ever seen or heard word of. Contenders include the leather bound Cthulhu editions with gold trim or the leather bound Encyclopedia Magicas. It's simply beautiful. An actual artifact.
  • The cover map+encounter table communicates enough setting information to be a complete supplement in itself. You could hand that map to someone along with a copy of your favorite OSR ruleset, and that's a campaign right there.
  • The interior is heavy stock cream pages. This book is like a dessert.
  • There is a little knight on a rocking horse on the how to use this book page, along with the suggestion that it can be used to kill small animals or choke large ones. The time spent on the product is evident.
    • This, I think, is the fundamental difference between corporate work and the aesthetic of the "OSR". Corporate work is deadlined content, sometimes good, sometimes bland, but needing to fill a page count with material. OSR work comes in two styles—labors of love that are worked on till they are finally complete, or things released because we are just tired of working on it for years. Sometimes both in the same product.
      • Clearly, I prefer the second. 
  • Zak Sabbath is obsessed^H^H^H^H^H^H quite fond of the letter V.
  • The logic in the book is fairy tale logic, which is both wonderful and challenging, considering keeping it all in mind is somewhat difficult. Using this book as a campaign setting requires a fair bit of preparation. This is different than Yoon-Suin which also requires preparation, in that you generate the situation ahead of time in Yoon-Suin, whereas Red and Pleasant Land works better if you can remember all the strange rules during play. I would not expect to need to reference Yoon-Suin frequently during a game; I would expect to reference Red and Pleasant Land.
    • There is in fact a note to this effect in the book, suggesting you don't worry about it too much and focus on the important stuff, without letting things degenerate into chaotic randomness.
  • There is a lot of concrete advice over how to run and use the book in actual play.
  • There is an illustrated bestiary running from pages 35 to 83. Also this book is A5, and there are 3-4 monsters a page (including a Jabberwok and Jub Jub)
  • The majority of the book is taken up with two adventure locations. These include strange gravities, tesseracts, puzzles, keys, nightmares and dreams. I would say more, but I don't wish to spoil any of the surprises.
  • There are a slew of optional rules, and all the tables in the book are reprinted for reference in the back. Of particular note are the growing and shrinking rules and the rules for warfare.
  • Though this doesn't detract from my enjoyment of the product, there are a few small graphical and layout errors, and I appear to be missing both players handout 6 and the chess puzzle from the back of the book.
  • The sampled locations, a maze, a battle frozen in time, and a forest containing two thieves are some top-tier one page style dungeons. 
  • The tables are very useful. There's a very good animal table, as well as a useful generate a random quest table.
  • That's the key feature of the majority of the dungeons in the book, They are interesting dream-logic type places to explore. which makes them perfect for weird, fantastic, adventures. Is that what you want? This delivers that, in spades. . . and hearts, and clubs, and diamonds. It's worth the cover price + shipping, even just to strip it for ideas. 
The quality of material coming out lately keeps rising. It's really a new golden age.

I suggest picking it up before it sells out. I missed the last book (Vornhiem) and my wife had to contact dozens of people to eventually get one sent to me from the other side of the world. This one will also sell out.


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