JP On Gaming

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

[Review] Kendal Santor's Treatise on the Mournland

I was on one of the many 5e Facebook group lurking and killing time when I happened on a post asking for reviews. On a whim, I replied and Alan-T sent me a copy to review.

The product is Kendal Santor's Treatise on the Mournland by Alan Tucker and [friends] (there are a lot of people on this project).

Full disclosure, I am not a fan of Eberron. That campaign setting does nothing for me. It leaves me completely indifferent. High-Tech in my fantasy is something I like in small doses. If I want to play Sci-fi, then I would play a Sci-fi game. With this know, let's go over the document...

The document is 78 pages long, including a cover page, a page for credit and foreword, a page for table of contents, and a page of ads/links at the end. Meaning you get 74 pages of content, for 12.95, that's not bad. A tad pricey, but let's see what we get for that price.

The first section, environment presents some environmental challenges you encounter when playing in the Mournlands. This section is one of the surprise highlights for me. The presentation is concise, and clear. My favorite section was the one about spellcasting. In short, every time you cast a spell, any spell, you roll a d20. On a 20, the effects are doubled; and on a 1, the spell has no effects and the slot is wasted.

The best part of this section is that everything is in a sidebar/ textbox. This makes accessing them when you have players bombarding you with questions easy to find.

Next is the Map which looks very good. It is attractive and clear to read. Even in black and white, it is clear to read.

Next, is the Geography section which presents the locations within the Mournlands. They are short but interesting. If I have one thing that irked me here: alphabetize. The "random" or "map order" makes it difficult to find during a game. While not explicitly detailed, I find tidbits of adventure idea in every entry, a few of which I will most definitely use in my own games.

The Personalities section is well-made, but for me, something of less useful. This section is well-made and the characters have definite personalities. Including Ikar the Black, a half-orc treasure-hunter who wrote comments throughout the book, adding great flavor.

The too-short What caused the Mourning? accomplished exactly what it needs: it gave me a few possibilities without a definitive answer. The GM can decide and use the one he wants for his campaign. What created this massive scar is one of the mystery of the world that makes it interesting for us players to explore and find out what the DM thinks.

The final section, and the largest in the book, is the Bestiary. This one has a lot of interesting horrors. We have two templates: warped, and living spells. The rest of the monsters offer a variety of beasties: from the low CRs to the high CRs. There is a lot of variety: aberrations, monstrosities, constructs, plants, and beasts. They are presented in a format similar to the Monster Manual.

Good

- Perhaps one of the most random elements I found myself looking forward to read on every page were Ikar's personal notes. They made me think of a PC's own notes. The one on the Cthulhu-like Droxa which is featured on the cover reads: Blood and soul, this thing’s a story. It better be a story. I hope it’s a story. - Ikar A definite highlight

- The writing is good and well-edited. I found it clear and concise, not using overly complex prose.

- The art is effective and gives the Mournland a good impression.

- The Rule elements and sidebars are well-used and draw attention where due.

- The biggest value and most likely to find reuse for the GM is the Bestiary. The variety of both creature types and challenges means your party will have a lot of challenges. So you are not just fighting orcs or warforged.

Improvable

Okay, I had to work hard to nitpick this one... Almost everything was good. So these are really minor and personal preference.

- The art is a mix of CGI and art. I am not a fan of the CGI stuff, but it is well done and the composition are good.

- I would greatly appreciate if the locations were alphabetized

Rating

Well this one was easy to rate. I could not find anything really wrong with it! That means a solid 5/5. If you are not into Eberron, I may drop it to a high 4.5, which again rounds back up to 5/5.

This is a great product! Check it out!

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