On a Useful Review of Yoon-Suin

Matthew Adams
Step one: Buy it.

Step two: Read the review.

Step three: Congratulate yourself on how smart you were for already buying it!

  • Mathew Adams is the best illustrator of the New Wave OSR. And he has extremely stiff competition.
  • Oh, heck, the format. 9x7? Where do I fit that on the shelf? It's simultaneously super annoying, and yet contributes to the weird eastern aesthetic of the setting. Also, keep in mind it's 315 pages. It's larger than a player's handbook of any edition of Dungeons & Dragons.
  • It is the best example I've ever seen of a special snowflake, dying world, setting in print. Not that the world of Yoon-Suin is dying, but it captures better than any other role playing game book the ideal of an impartial and merciless world, completely immune to anything the characters can do to change it. It does this better than the Dying Earth game. An example:
    • "How does one describe the Hundred Kingdoms? Each has its own ruler, its own spirits, its own schools of fakirs, its own enemies, its own intrigues, its own allies, its own particular cruelties. It is in ever sense varied. And yet in that very variety there is unity. Though the people living in each city-state abide by their own laws and customs and often war viciously against their neighbors in the name of their ancient rights, at the end of each day the same farmers return home to eat flat bread and curry and suck on hookah pipes while they watch the sun set; at each road-side passers-by pay homage to the same fakirs performing feats of strange and horrible endurance; in the fields groups of devout holy fighters practice with the same tulwars, gurj, barcha and bagh nakh."
    • Does this sound like a bad thing? It isn't. Do you like Lovecraft? Kipling? The old pulps about foreign and lost lands? This isn't a game about heros, it's a game about exploring a mysterious and unknowable realm, far from our own.  
  • The special snowflake book of Yoon-Suin is a toolkit to create your own special snowflake Yoon-Suin. The imperative is explicit on the page of Four Mysteries. Create your own Yoon-Suin.
  • Logistically, what's in here?
    • A new B/X style race/class: Crab-man
    • Dwarves, Humans, Slug-men as races. (Classes as per the variant used.)
    • A large bestiary, 42 pages, unillustrated. 
    • Random tables for campaign creation of the various regions.
  • There are several regions, each contains an extensive section that allows you to generate the contents of that region. 
    • The Yellow City: A good starting point. Engage in intrigues in the city, recovering lost treasures in the overgrown ruins of old town, sell their services to guilds, or takes sides in conflict between differing societies. 
    • The Hundred Kingdoms: A perfect place for campaigns involving war, revolution, exploration, politicking, or exploration.
    • Lamarakh: The flooded lands are good for exploration, travel and trade. Get involved in trade wars, river piracy, or search the jungle for rare creatures or treasures. 
    • Sughd and the Mountains of the Moon: Another setting that works as an introduction to Yoon-Suin  Explore abandoned dwarven citidels, become hired swords, engage in trade and brave the god river, or explore the great cragged wilderness.
I'm breaking out of the dots here, because you have to know.

My mind is blown.

This artifact, one of many I have sitting on my desk, is a labor of wonder. It is as stepping into a very idosyncratic storybook, with step by step instructions on how to have a magical adventure within. It is 300 pages of love, allowing endless adventure.

To David and Matthew: Good on you sirs! Good on you. 

I look forward to visiting again as soon as possible.

Yoon-Suin in .pdf
Yoon-Suin in print

Hack & Slash 
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  1. Got the PDF today! Great stuff - and: I wished that there were more illustrations. They are so weird and epic and awesome! :D

  2. It's a great book. The DIY community has been churning out good stuff this year, for sure.

    1. It's insane how good everything I've gotten recently is. I mean, it's all so good.

  3. You speak the truth. Bought it a week or two ago, and I've been congratulating myself ever since. I got Chthonic Codex recently too, and I can't decide which of the two is more splendid. It's a good dilemma to have.

  4. It is a great book I have already been using parts of it for another campaign. Tons of flavour and loads of useful parts.

    On the size when I first pulled the physical product out of the mailing it reminded me instantly of an old "How to Learn Chinese book" which I had when living in Hong Kong.

  5. I'm running a game of Vagabonds of Dyfed set in the Purple Land and I'm loving it! I feel lucky that I found it just in time for my game.


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